SCOTLAND'S FIRST commercial vertical farm is to be constructed in Aberdeenshire later this year.

Indoor agritech specialist Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) first opened its vertical farming demonstration facility at the James Hutton Institute in 2017, giving an insight in to vertical growing technology, which has since attracted global interest.

This week, IGS has completed a deal with new vertical farming operator Vertegrow, to build a four-tower system at Waterside Farm in Aberdeenshire, which is hoped will service the north east of Scotland with nutritious, locally grown food.

A 245 m2 insulated superstructure will accommodate four nine-metre-high towers alongside a 1600 m2 service area, which will provide approximately 1343 m2 of growing space, producing up to 70 tonnes of produce per annum when fully operational.

The towers, which are expected to be operational in early 2021, will grow a variety of crops which are intended to service the local food supply chain. Vertegrow will work with a range of local customers including retailers, caterers, restaurateurs and other local services, to deliver fresh, nutritious, high-quality produce all year round.

IGS CEO David Farquhar commented: “This is an exciting step for IGS and for Vertegrow as we set out to deploy a new vertical farm for a new operator in this space. With proven experience in traditional farming, and extensive involvement, through its owners, in the food and drink sector, we are confident that this will bring a new and top-quality offering to the local market. Such re-localisation of the food supply chain is a feature of post-coronavirus planning we are seeing all over world.

“We were delighted that the IGS platform was selected for this project," he continued. "It is proof that our rigorous commitment to engineering design excellence and our unique patented systems deliver what customers want – a system that is highly pragmatic, flexible, modular and scalable.”

Vertegrow's Graeme Warren added: “Vertegrow is delighted to be working with IGS on this innovative project as we position our farm business to address the challenges of the modern food supply chain. We have spent considerable time identifying the right partners and systems, and the IGS platform stood out as a quality solution which could be configured for our needs. Growing quality, nutritious food in North East Scotland will allow us to reduce food miles for our customers. Combined with our renewable energy sources and rainwater harvesting, the efficiency of the IGS system is a key part of our ambition to grow crops in a carbon neutral way," he concluded.