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Local Roots, a Peterborough based venture and Future Business Centre tenants, are providing innovative solutions in urban spaces, to grow sustainable food.
Local Roots’ innovative crop growth methods allow caterers and organisations in Peterborough to grow their own food on site, reducing ‘food miles’ and making sure food is fresh and local. The team consists of Gloria McNeil and Ian Tennant, who have exploited their shared experience of working on organic farms and smallholdings to use organic methods where possible and continue to explore cutting edge methods which promote sustainability.
One such method is currently allowing Allia Future Business Centre Peterborough to grow crops in the innovation lab. Through hydroponics, Local Roots have grown a variety of Salad Greens and herbs, which tenants will be able to test out for themselves on Thursday 10 March at our ‘Lunch Club’ event.
The benefits of Hydrophonics are clear: grow time is up to 20% less than with traditional farming methods, 70-90% less water is required over the lifetime of the crop, energy efficient LED lighting provides ideal spectrum for plant growth, meaning crops can be grown inside and harvests are not dependent on the weather and last, but by no means least, the flexibility and availability of this method means that the time between harvesting and serving can be minimised, so crops are fresher, and transport costs and emissions are minimised.
The business has already received support & funding from Brainwave Innovations and Opportunity Peterborough. Having started the business using traditional farming methods to grow healthy, fresh food as locally as possible, Ian and Gloria began looking for a way to ensure a consistent supply of varied crops year round, reducing the need to import and reducing food miles (the distance food is transported between production and consumption). With a background in Environmental Sustainability, this was an important factor in their business model, and led them to begin using Hydroponics. Their new project looks to reduce food miles even further, by supplying the equipment, knowledge and support needed to empower local businesses to grow their own food on site using state of the art technology.
With an expanding urban population fighting for space, there’s another added bonus, plants can be grown on multiple layers, which means more food can be grown using a small floor space increasing efficiency and maximising use of limited urban spaces.
With so much to offer, we can’t wait to test the micro greens at our ‘Lunch Club’ on Thursday 10 March. Local Roots will be bringing the pasta, herbs and salad greens, and out tenants will be bringing their favourite accompaniments in a true community sharing event. Will it be a success? The proof is in the lettuce!