Featuring Green Tech: Grow Bristol

One of the aims of our “Featuring Green Tech” initiative is it to increase the awareness of local “disruptive” green technology businesses. By promoting and showcasing ecologically conscious businesses in the South West, those with a sustainable and eco-friendly mindset.

grow bristol green tech

Next up as part of this, Dermot O’Regan, Founder and MD at Grow Bristol. Grow Bristol is focused on providing smart urban farming for a better city. The team produce high quality, local produce all-year-round, aiming to be part of a movement that is changing the way that we feed our cities. Their aim is to create the next generation of urban farms and future farmers for smart cities.

ADLIB: For some background information, who are Grow Bristol and what makes your business offering unique?

Dermot O’Regan: Grow Bristol is part of a movement that is changing the way we feed our cities. We utilise ‘controlled environment agriculture’ (CEA) methods to grow high quality, ultra-local and nutrient dense salads and herbs available all year-round, delivered in a way that is convenient and sustainable.

With our model and use of innovative technology, we can grow food in city spaces that are not normally suited to agriculture; reducing the environmental impact of food production and distribution, and increasing community engagement as well as creating an array of employment opportunities in the farming sector. Our vision is that our model of ‘smart urban farming’ contributes to making more healthy, sustainable and resilient cities and communities.

ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the green technology aspect of your product?

Dermot O’Regan: We use the latest CEA technologies and techniques and apply them to sustainable urban food production. Hydroponics is soil-less growing which can reduce water use by up to 90% compared to traditional in-field methods, which in combination with energy-efficient LED lighting allows us to adopt ‘vertical farming’ techniques. This enables us to stack our grow beds and grow intensively and consistently and all-year-round and without the use of pesticides.

ADLIB: What does Grow Bristol aim to achieve in terms of sustainability?

Dermot O’Regan: In addition to the water-saving of our growing systems and no use of pesticides, we also reduce the carbon footprint of food production by growing next to the point of consumption and reducing the storage and distribution impacts of mainstream agriculture (we deliver our produce to our customers the same day as harvest and by electric trike!). We are constantly looking for ways to recycle waste, reduce single plastic use and apply our systems to circular economy approaches as much as possible.

We were honoured to be crowned ‘Best Local Grower’ at the Bristol Good Food Awards.

ADLIB: Is there one piece of wisdom that you could pass on to those who are looking to contribute to the Green Tech industry?

Dermot O’Regan: Tech start-ups often end up ‘re-inventing the wheel’ – so my piece of wisdom for them would be to first speak to their anticipated end-users to find out what innovations and applications are really needed by practitioners in the industry in question. ‘Just ask us what we need!’.

ADLIB: And finally, what’s in the pipeline for Grow Bristol? What’s on the horizon?

Dermot O’Regan: We have exciting growth plans for 2019 and beyond, and are currently planning the delivery of the next generation of ‘smart urban farms’.

We believe the future of sustainable urban food production lies in the integration of innovative growing systems into existing or planned living and working spaces. This will deliver multiple added value to those spaces and communities along the way, which will include the increased and convenient supply of fresh, local and nutritious produce, as well as education, training and jobs in the green economy.

To achieve this, we are developing some exciting partnerships across the public, private and community sectors. Collaboration is key!

Thanks so much for the chat, Dermot!

We take our environmental responsibilities seriously, we get involved, we feature, support and champion Green Tech businesses, those that disrupt and are on a similar journey. Please get in touch should you like to find out more or if you are on a similar mission, we’d love to collaborate to make a real difference.

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