Vertical Future, the tech start-up behind vertical farming initiative MiniCrops, is developing a smart device to combat air pollution in cities.
The product focuses on reducing the effect of emissions, specifically Nitrogen Dioxide, from vehicles and other urban sources – meaning cleaner air for urban dwellers.
The tech start-up, launched by husband and wife team Jamie and Marie-Alexandrine Burrows in 2016, is currently at the product development and testing stage and is expected to release further details about the smart device this year.
Vertical Future is focused on improving health in cities, developing and utilising different forms of smart technology dealing with specific issues that negatively affect the health of urban inhabitants.
As well as tackling air pollution, Vertical Future is also tackling food sustainability and nutrition through its sister company, MiniCrops. MiniCrops, uses agriculture technology to bring food production closer to London homes, reducing food miles and providing fresh, sustainable produce to households and restaurants.
Last year, Minicrops opened its first site in Deptford – a vertical farm housed within a previously disused warehouse in south-east London.
The site, which currently produces over one tonne of microgreens and microherbs every month, has been developed as part of The Artworks’ new Creekside development and will provide the local community and businesses with sustainably grown fresh produce. All produce is pesticide-free and MiniCrops’ set-up yields up to 100 times more produce per square metre compared to traditional farming practices.
MiniCrops are hoping to set up more vertical farms in London, in disused buildings and shipping containers, producing food for schools and local communities. Locating the farms in urban locations can also help to cut down on delivery miles thus reducing emissions and helping to combat poor air quality, while crops can be grown year round regardless of season or weather.
The husband and wife team always intended for their planned network of vertical farms to do more than just provide crops and produce, but also provide community outreach and engagement projects.
MiniCrops is currently working with local schools, charities, further education, and higher education. This also includes collaborative research partnerships to make the most of Vertical Future’s agricultural data.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea