Agricultural infrastructure supplier Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) has signed a new partnership agreement with HarvestUp, the smart farming business, to build a vertical farm at a Missouri technical college campus.
This significant investment comprises four IGS Growth Towers and will be based at the Ranken Technical College Campus in Ashland, which is currently under construction. It will provide the college’s students with a workforce learning environment where they can learn about vertical farming, IT, construction and HVAC systems as part of their agricultural studies, focusing on honing practical and technical skills.
Scottish-headquartered IGS will initially deploy four of their 40ft high Growth Towers, with a view to working alongside HarvestUp to expand the site and add more towers in the future.
The vertical farm will grow a variety of crops including leafy greens, herbs and microgreens. In addition to providing a hands-on learning environment for students, produce from the farm will also be sold to the local community through grocery retailers and Missouri distributors.
IGS’ vertical farming system delivers an indoor ecosystem which allows growers to create the perfect conditions for plants to thrive all year round without soil. The farm uses 95% less water and achieves up to 15 times the yield compared with growing in an open field environment.
HarvestUp’s mission is to produce high-quality food year-round while reducing the environmental impact of production. This partnership with IGS will allow both businesses to further the advancement of the controlled environment agriculture industry in the US and beyond, while facilitating academic learning of vertical farming.
Construction of the vertical farm is expected to begin in early 2023.
HarvestUp CEO David Westhoff, said: “The HarvestUp team is ready to bring a new industry to Mid-Missouri. HarvestUp, Smart Farming, will create new jobs and unique educational opportunities while contributing to our community’s health and wellness. We appreciate the partnerships built with IGS and Ranken Technical College to further vertical farming.”
David Farquhar, CEO of Intelligent Growth Solutions, added: “It’s exciting to see training institutions like Ranken partnering with forward-thinking, entrepreneurial businesses like HarvestUp to build a highly skilled workforce capable of driving the future of vertical farming production.
“Growing in controlled indoor environments is still relatively new to the agriculture sector so it’s vital that we’re engaging young people and showcasing the wide variety of employer opportunities available in the sector. We’re delighted that HarvestUp has chosen IGS’ technology to be at the heart of this partnership and hope it will inspire the next generation of agricultural innovators.”
Don Pohl, President of Ranken Technical College, added: “Ranken is always excited to partner with industry to provide real world work experience for our students. We are committed to providing the comprehensive education and training necessary to prepare our students for great technical careers!”
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