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Of course, any reasonable governance system would ensure that the UK did have a fall back position.  But, as usual, good governance is nowhere to be had.  CST however, see’s a way forward through Vertical Farming & Food Biotech.   This not only provides a solution against a potential UK food crisis caused by external factors, but also provides for improving jobs and local infrastructure for all the right reasons...

The Local Solution
The basic science of vertical farming is well proven.  To be turned into a vibrant, sustainable and efficient system of mass food production requires significant large scale testing and improvement.  CST see’s a massive opportunity here for local communities.  Like all of these initiatives it requires a big and sustained push from government, however the rewards are massive for the UK as a whole.

Food Biotech such as bacterial based protein production or growing animal protein directly from cellullar growth technology is newer but looking promising for sustainable food production. Especially when it is clear that we need to move away from land based livestock farming and all the issues of energy and large land areas that this entails.

Such Biotech systems require significant energy, (but massively less than land based livestock production), and also industrial production processes. As the vertical farming envisaged harnesses new, sustainable energy production and energy storage, Biotech food systems can also be built alongside, tested and refined.

Imagine a UK wide consortium of local farmers and locally based industrial systems brought together as a UK wide testing process for sustainable vertical farming.  This would mean industrial input to create the buildings, energy systems, distribution and hydroponic systems.  The farming community can provide quality people, (well paid this time), to create a complete local provision for a variety of foods for local and national consumption.

The testing should be organised such that each local vertical farming solution initially attempts different strategies using different processes, different food types etc.  After a few years, better processes will be discovered, along with the way to achieve improved energy systems (solar, wind, hydrogen, biofuel and storage).  Locally based sustainable processing should test new types of energy production such as biofuels from waste collection.   The provision for testing must be laid down within the charter for each local commission for the vertical farming systems. Such provision should include requirements for local farming involvement and local business involvement.

Sustainability & Technology
Using sustainable technologies together to provide all the local processing and distribution – from the energy for the farming and biotech systems, robotic systems for harvesting, self drive electrical / hydrogen vehicles for distribution and the collection of the local waste products.

Local waste can be returned to the vertical farms for base feed and fertilisation or biofuel production.  The farming units could include additional energy processing such as turning wind, solar and biofuel into local energy storage. The vertical buildings could be harnessed for such energy storage using vertical load lifting systems along with hydrogen storage or high tech battery systems.

Devising a UK-wide network of vertical farms and biotech food production along with the associated energy and distribution requirements creates a virtuous cycle of joined up processes that enables new technologies and new businesses to develop together. Rarely do we see an opportunity to do this - where new technologies can be tested, developed and improved within a new nationwide and expanding provision.

The UK has to solve two key issues, ongoing sustainable food production and a growing UK-wide energy provision, especially for the coming explosion of EV cars. This vertical farming plan does both of these.

This plan also directly provides for increasing opportunities and wealth creation for the many local communities involved. At the same time as solving a potential food crisis it develops a much improved energy system across the UK. Consider that the UK may need to spend 15 Billion on another new nuclear power station - if it provided this vertical farming solution instead, the money would all be invested within the local UK communities instead of paying overseas businesses to build such a nuclear facility and UK taxpayers paying for it for the foreseeable future.

Local Farmers
Importantly, vertical farms do not require massive amounts of quality farm land or indeed a high level of commercial fertilisation.  They will not compete directly with local established farming, but the local vertical farms can be harnessed to increase the supply of food products not currently available from local farmers.  The farming community must be central to the running of these new farming systems and as farmers are necessarily involved in distribution, food processing and the energy requirements they are ideally placed to provide this backbone of support and ongoing development.

The vertical farms across the UK can be located in communities that need additional high level jobs.  These could be ideally placed in rural locations that can also provide for a network of solar, wind and storage facilities. These hubs can then act as energy distribution and storage facilities enhanced if required by a local improvement in the electricity grid network.

Improved Energy Grid
It is likely, that over a period of ten years such facilities, if they spanned the UK, could solve many of the local energy problems and provide for the increasing use of electrical and hydrogen transport.  Feeding the grid from smaller, local, mixed energy provision would also solve the wider distribution difficulties for the UK’s electrical grid and provide significant redundancy in both energy and food provision. 

Costs & Funding
The costs, as they are nearly all internal costs within the UK, (with all the technology being created within the UK, a possibility post brexit), would be recycled within the UK and go, in the main, to the targeted local communities that most need such an input to investment and real jobs.  Moreover, the UK would become the world leader in vertical farming, biotech food production and linked energy systems.

Indeed, if this distributed food production and energy provision was directly linked into CST’s plan for Innovation Funding (see white paper), then after the initial government investment, legal and strategy work, these local vertical farms may be self funding directly from UK and external investors.  The Innovation funding system provides for massive business growth but retains the profits and ownership within the UK. 

This means that this new distributed system, for food and energy, would be wholly owned within the UK and as such provide additional security in times of stress.  Via the Innovation Funding spin-off industries would also directly benefit from the potential of quick, efficient investment and some would grow quickly into world leading businesses.

Imagine a Future

In perhaps 20 to 30 years the UK could be moving away from intensive farming and land based livestock farming to a sustainable food production system that is driven by the local farming communities. For once the UK may well sidestep the trashing of local communities and local jobs in the necessary move to different production processes.

Instead, the UK would keep the farmers in business, albeit a very different business, and achieve world-wide growth by improving exports through developing leading technologies.

This virtuous cycle would also free up massive amounts of quality land that can be re-purposed for leisure activities, improved wildlife habitats and provide for more housing that the UK desperately requires.



Vertical Farming & Food Biotech

Dec 2022

Food – the next crisis?

What can go wrong next?  For many years the UK and others have relied upon cheap food imports.  Without these, many people go very hungry.  If harvests fail, or if supply lines fail, then the UK has zero fall back provision

... but CST goes further and also solves the energy crisis along with leveling up for the poorest communities.