Urban Farming

Photobiology expertise is being used to solve the commercial challenges of a local urban farming enterprise

Grow Bristol is a new urban farming enterprise developing innovative and sustainable ways of growing food in Bristol for the benefit of all its inhabitants and the wider world. It uses hydroponic rigs to grow salad leaves and herbs. However, it has proved challenging for them to optimise plant architecture to meet customers’ requirements.

Dr Kerry Franklin is a plant photobiologist and Professor Alistair Hetherington is a plant cell biologist. Their understanding of plant photobiology, temperature signalling and physiology is being used to optimise a hydroponic growth regime for multiple microleaf crops, producing a range of commercially desirable characteristics (eg. reduced size, darker leaves, higher antioxidants).

Academic expertise is helping to solve the commercial challenges of a local enterprise as scientific knowledge is translated into commercial application to increase productivity of crops. This will result in improved products, sales and positive impact on the local economy.

“Working with the University of Bristol on this project should enhance our technical abilities to produce more high quality produce, which could in turn give us a competitive advantage with respect to the local market and beyond. As pioneers in our field (innovative urban agriculture and vertical farming), working alongside a world-class and local University will only enhance our standing and ability to continue to develop and scale-up our innovative urban farming systems.”

Dermot O'Gregan, Grow Bristol 

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