Tech Tyfu Twf – a project run by Tech Tyfu, Menter Môn’s vertical farming scheme has supplied vertical farming kits to four out of five secondary schools in Anglesey.
Staff and pupils at Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni and Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern join Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi in discovering new ways of learning, using soil-less growing techniques, with applications across the curriculum.
The vertical farming kits will bring STEM concepts alive in class, providing hands agricultural technology experience and the opportunity to work on a cross-curricular project. The kits will also provide pupils with the education to be able to achieve sustainability through innovation in the future.
Vertical farming is the process of growing crops in a vertical arrangement, irrigated by a nutrient rich solution under controlled environmental conditions.
Sally Williams, Assistant Headteacher at Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni said: “We are very excited to be part of the Tech Tyfu Twf vertical farming pioneering project across Ynys Môn.
We are particularly looking forward to embedding the use of this innovative technology into our STEM curriculum in Year 7.”
Funded by the Ynys Mon AONB Sustainable Development Fund and delivered by Menter Mon, Tech Tyfu have provided equipment and expertise to support teachers in developing innovative ways of using vertical farming to enrich the new Curriculum for Wales with an emphasis on cross-curricular, project-based learning.
Catherine Pearson, Tech Tyfu’s project officer added: “I’m excited to watch these schools develop and I hope we can expand the project across north Wales to give more pupils the opportunity to learn with this innovative technology.
With changing agricultural policy calling for diversification and recent experiences of food insecurity, vertical farming has never been more important to Wales, it brings production much closer to consumption and avoids the carbon emissions associated with importing high-value greens.”
Louise Hughes, Head of Science at Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern said: “After the recent challenges faced by our pupils with working from home and the impact that has had on their mental health, I think the wellbeing benefits of growing food and taking care of something will have another benefit for the pupils of our school.
As an ex-school pupil on Anglesey, I am familiar with the feeling that all the industries are closing on the island and that concern of what will I do for a job when I leave school. I hope that working alongside Tech Tyfu will help the pupils imagine an island that is growing in industry in the future and want to be a part of it.”
Tech Tyfu was initially launched as a pilot scheme in March 2020, providing equipment, practical and educational support to aspiring growers aiming to supply vertically farmed produce to a range of markets.
Since then, the one-of-a-kind project has launched three new projects designed to showcase vertical farming technology in North Wales.
Early in 2022, Tech Tyfu will begin construction of the Tech Tyfu Innovation Hub in Menai Science Park at Gaerwen, Anglesey, where staff will collaborate with businesses, researchers and individuals to test new technology and explore the potential of vertical farming in Wales.
Vertical farming has applications at all scales and boasts impressive environmental credentials, requiring around a small fraction of the water used in traditional agriculture.
Crops can be grown regardless of seasonality and due to their vertical arrangement, can be grown at high densities without the need for herbicides or pesticides.