Evogro has led a consortium awarded £850,000 by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to research and develop the next generation of autonomous growing systems. Evogro’s consortium partners are NIAB EMR, the horticultural research division of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, and Therefore Limited, an internationally renowned, product design consultancy.
The funding forms part of UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Transforming Food Production (TFP) challenge which aims to set food production systems on the trajectory to net zero emissions by 2040 and to produce food in ways that are more efficient, resilient and sustainable.
The Evogro led consortium was one of only five winning entries in the Future Food Production Systems competition which sought projects that would create integrated, data-driven solutions to help move UK food production towards a sustainable and productive, net-zero emissions future.
The Evogro-led project “Production at the Point of Consumption” will develop new autonomous growing systems for leafy greens and salad crops that can be operated anywhere that food is served. The project will focus on developing solutions for institutions with a particular need for more nutritious and sustainable produce, including health care, social care and education, and also on solutions for urban households.
Katrina Hayter Challenge Director at Innovate UK said:
“Traditionally we have produced food in fields on farms and that food gets transported sometimes for many miles, but what this really interesting project does is, it allows us to produce that food at the point of consumption at home. It reduces food miles and hopefully waste.”
Evogro Plant Growing Systems are already being used today by some of the UK’s leading professional chefs and bartenders. The intelligent Evogro system automatically optimises the growing conditions so each plant gets precisely what it needs for robust and healthy growth. With living plants growing right in the kitchen you can harvest them seconds before serving, so they are absolutely fresh and full of flavour.
Jason Hirst, Managing Director of Evogro, said
“We are thrilled to have received this award from Innovate UK which recognises the quality of our technology and our vision for the future. This funding will allow us to boost our invest in research and development and we’re excited to be collaborating with NIAB EMR and Therefore. This project has the potential to fundamentally transform the traditional model of production and provide consumers with better-tasting, more nutritious and more sustainable produce.”