STBAH Case Study | LettUs Grow - a fresh look at farming
Due to intensive agriculture and the increasing demand for food the planet is losing billions of tones of productive soil each year. Bristol startup LettUs Grow has an aim to reduce the waste and carbon footprint of fresh produce by encouraging vertical urban farming, which would allow food to be grown near its point of consumption. LettUs Grow recognised that in order to tackle this problem a fresh look at farming was needed and this is how they came up with the indoor farming solution. It can be used to grow more food on less land, grown closer to the point of consumption and reduce the resource cost of farming. Instead of using soil, plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-dense mist, which results in fast growth rates and 95 per cent reduction in water usage compared to open-open-field farming.
Farmers are facing new challenges to feed the growing population - battling everything from climate change to degrading soils. Protecting farms against outward pressures is LettUs Grows top priority. They want to help them divest their offering. By taking the pressure off the land and making use of indoor spaces, farms can produce more food without destroying natural habitats to create new farmland or driving soil fertility into the ground. Farming alongside nature isn’t just great for the planet, it’s good for business too. Studies show that farms with more biodiversity have increased yields and lower runnings costs. This is due to the reduced need for fertilisers and pesticides.
Founded in 2015, LettUs Grow have already received an accolade of awards and more recently have secured funding to help build world leading indoor growing facilities.
Co-founder and operations lead at LettUs Grow, Jack Farmer, says,
Jack goes onto say,
LettUs Grow applied for business support through the Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub - a business hub partnered with the University of Bath which provides bespoke free support to low carbon and sustainable tech SMEs or start ups in the West of England. Following various conversations it became clear that they required a review of their software architecture by using data science to extract value from the data LettUs Grow record from the farms. Collaborations were made through the University of Bath to help support the project optimising the data collected by their sensor arrays, both in terms of its nature and format.
A partnership developed between Dr Özgür Şimşek from the Department of Computer Science as well as Professor Chris Budd with LettUs Grow. The support enabled the data collected from LettUs Grow to be analysed by the University of Bath data scientists and prevent costly delays to the deployment of the company’s growth ‘recipes’ to their customers. A researcher from The University of Bath’s Institute for Mathematical Innovation was able to spend time at LettUs Grow’s headquarters reviewing their current data collection protocols, data sets and related outputs. This project was funded through the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account, an institutional grant at the University of Bath (Grant Ref: EP/R51164X/1), which contributed to the Sustainable Technology Commissioned Fund. The project was partnered with the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies and the Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub.
Talking about the research collaboration with this project Dr Şimşek from the University of Bath, says,
Charlie Guy, Co-Founder and Managing Director from LettUs Grow goes on to say,
LettUs Grow is a fine example of an SME where sustainability is at their core and are tackling some of the greatest challenges facing the world today - CO2 emissions, waste, ecosystem collapse and food security.
If you’re an SME or business seeing growth and operate in the low carbon, sustainable tech sector and you think your business could benefit from the free support available through the Sustainable Acceleration Business Acceleration Hub then apply now: https://www.stbah.org/.