Cultivating new farming solutions

Cultivating new farming solutions

Helping grow enough crops to feed everyone.


There’s a big opportunity in building a network of farms like ours to improve and enrich the overall dataset, helping customers to improve crop cultivation techniques, yields, energy efficiency, and other important metrics.

Jamie Burrows

Founder and CEO, Vertical Future

Vertical Future

Vertical Future

Vertical Future is the leading technology and data business in the UK vertical farming sector and is also achieving notoriety on the global stage. It designs and builds and manufactures turnkey vertical farms using technologies developed in-house, provides data through its SaaS solutions, offers operating services, and is a leader in transformational research.

Connected farming

As the global population grows and land becomes scarcer, vertical farming will hopefully provide part of the answer to how the world grows enough crops to feed everyone. Vertical Future’s Founder and CEO Jamie Burrows explains the role of the Internet of Things (IoT) in this.

Growing crops

Put simply, vertical farming involves growing crops indoors in vertically stacked layers in a controlled environment, using artificial lighting, without the use of soil, pesticides or other agri-chemicals.

Indoor efficiencies

“It depends on the design and height of each vertical farm, but for larger developments we generally say we can grow the same amount as an outdoor large-scale farm in about 1% of the space,” explains Jamie. “Our farms also use much less water (an increasingly scarce resource), compared to a traditional broadacre farm.”

Growing algorithms and IoT

IoT plays a key role in managing the conditions needed to grow different plants indoors – including humidity, temperature, watering frequency, pH, nutrient concentration, photoperiod, and lighting.

A vertical farm is a collection of many technologies with different variables that need to be connected – not just within the farm but also to our home base and other farms across the globe. We provide our customers with specific ‘growing algorithms’ and the technological integration required to reach optimal efficiency, together with transparency, traceability, and oversight of what's going on in their farm – at a granular level.

Jamie Burrows

Founder and CEO, Vertical Future

Vertical Future’s farms are fully automated, from seed treatment through to harvest, and every stage requires IoT. The company’s in-house SaaS product – DIANA – monitors and tracks each plant throughout the growing process, as well as the humans and other variables that interact with the system overall.

Sharing data to boost yields

DIANA can identify and locate defective equipment, like an LED, pump, or solenoid, which helps long-term maintenance of the infrastructure, but Jamie says the benefits go far beyond that.

The data collected is shared across Vertical Future’s network of farms, with everyone benefiting from the broader data and yield improvements it can bring: “Anonymised data sharing means that our customers’ farms in Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the UK can operate using similar growth algorithms, with each farm learning from the wider network. It's only through the power of IoT and data that we can offer this model.”

“We also track data for the wider operational environment – things like health and safety, staff management and stock control – and we’re working on integrating with finance platforms so a farm can monitor its bottom line against critical variables.”

Key challenges

Developing and deploying DIANA has certainly been “a learning experience,” for our team says Jamie. “Few had done anything like it when we began, so we’ve had to be agile, working closely with customers to figure out what they needed.”

Building a team with the right skills is also a challenge: “The engineers and software engineers we recruit, for example, have to understand that our systems are dealing with living things, which makes working with our Plant R&D team incredibly important,” says Jamie. “That’s a unique element for many of them to consider, compared to previous roles.”

How Barclays can help your business

Whether it's new farming solutions, supplier forecasting, waste management, or sustainable packaging – data, digitisation, IoT, AI, and machine learning are key to understanding and securing the food supply chain.

Barclays is dedicated to helping companies take action to address the environmental and sustainability challenges facing our planet. This includes helping to channel investment into new green technologies and low-carbon infrastructures, bringing corporates and start-ups together to uncover sustainable food supply solutions, and offering a range of flexible financing and deposit solutions to support a company's green agenda.

If you’d like to know more about how we could support you please contact our team.

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