A call to action goes out to farmers and growers across north Wales to sign up to a brand-new hydroponics pilot scheme to be launched later this month. Tech Tyfu is the first vertical farming programme of its kind in the region and will allow farmers to develop innovative ways of growing crops without soil.
A Menter Môn project, Tech Tyfu will provide growers with kits allowing them to have a go at using the hydroponics technology which could play an important role in future food production. Those who take part in the project will be supported and guided to develop the technology to suit their own business through a skill-sharing forum where they can exchange learning experiences. The scheme will also look at developing potential supply chain for the produce grown through the project.
Dafydd Gruffydd is Managing Director at Menter Môn. He explains more about Tech Tyfu: “Whilst vertical farming might seem more familiar in an urban setting, it has significant potential for development here in north Wales. Existing farmers understand supply chains and markets locally and often have access to agricultural buildings which could house vertical farming units. As well as the diversification potential during the post Brexit transition phase we think vertical farming could also enable farmers and growers to reach new high value markets in some of the many high-end restaurants we have across north Wales.”
Luke Tyler, is the project lead. A recent Forestry graduate, he is currently completing his PhD in Plant and Environment science. He said: “Hydroponics can use as little as 10% of the water used in conventional growing, and ensure increased resilience in extreme weather events which will occur more often due to climate change. And as we become more aware of the need to consider our impact on climate this project will help us think differently about how we produce food and grow our crops. By providing kits to people who are keen to explore the possibilities of hydroponics they can try out vertical farming in a supported environment and without the risks they would face if they were to venture into the sector on their own.”
As part of the Tech Tyfu launch there will be two information events – one in M-SParc, in Gaerwen, Anglesey on the 27th of February and one in Glynllifon, near Caernarfon on the 3rd or March. For further information anyone with an interest in the programme is encouraged to contact Luke at Menter Môn on email@example.com.
Tech Tyfu is run by Menter Môn and funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh