Digital transformation in vertical farming

“Resources are finite, data is infinite.”It’s a phrase I’ve started using in conversation with my colleagues and customers to summarize the urgent need to increase digital capabilities to stay competitive, while at the same time being able to gain tighter control over production variables to save resources and energy usage. Digitalisation is not a phase or a trend; it’s the key to businesses becoming more competitive, more productive, and, of increasing importance, more sustainable.

As a sector, food and beverage is still catching up with other industries in terms of its overall digital capabilities. And there are good reasons for this. But certain businesses, such as forward-thinking GrowPura, a vertical farming business with sites in Marston and Colworth, are starting to explore the true value of digital technologies.

I recently caught up with GrowPura’s executive chairman, Nick Bateman, to discuss his sector, his business and vertical farming’s hunger for technology.

The need to rethink agriculture

Now some months on from COP26, the world still seems to be at risk of irreversible and uncontrollable impacts of climate change. While the impacts of global warming are arguably currently less obvious in countries like the UK, recent research is reporting that over 40% of the world’s population are highly vulnerable from changes to the climate.

When also considering the world’s ever-increasing population, sectors like agriculture are likely to come under increased pressure as land becomes more expensive, weather more volatile and demand more extreme.


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