The co-funding will enable it to take its vertical hydroponic farming system, VydroFarm, through research and development and establish it as a viable solution for commercial growers, both in the UK and internationally.
HydroGarden’s approach to creating VydroFarm has also been recognised by fellow business leaders following the announcement that the firm is a finalist for the ‘Manufacturing Innovation’ Award in the Made in the Midlands Awards.
The Innovate funding has been granted following HydroGarden’s application to its UK’s ‘Agri-Tech Catalyst – Late Stage Experimental Development – Round 5’ and is worth over £340,000. HydroGarden will be co-funding the 12 month project by investing over £636,000, taking the total investment to nearly £1m.
HydroGarden’s plan is to develop a fully controlled commercial vertical hydroponic indoor system at its Coventry site which will create new jobs. The additional knowledge will also increase HydroGarden’s ability to export VydroFarm and reach international markets sooner, while putting the UK at the centre of horticultural innovation to meet worldwide food security challenges.
Stuart Green, director of HydroGarden, said: "As demand for food is increasing globally at the same time as populations continue to concentrate in mega cities, the only viable way to meet the need is with locally produced crops, grown vertically to utilise all available space. As this food has enriched nutritional content, less means more.
"Our products offer this solution and securing this grant will allow us to move to full commercialisation. As a company we strive to address real-life issues, and we’ve very proud that our endeavours have been recognised by our nomination for a Made in the Midlands Award."
Research has been carried out to date using a prototype VydroFarm at HydroGarden’s headquarters in Binley using 25 crop varieties, and has established that crop yield can be increased by 30 per cent compared to traditional growing methods. In addition, VydroFarm reduces the amount of time it takes to grow each crop by up to 50 per cent while also using less water. To achieve commercial feasibility, more research needs to be carried out in a variety of climates to reflect the real life conditions not just of the UK, but of Europe and Asia - key target markets for export.