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The modern grower: thinking vertically

Vertical farming enables growers confined in urban areas to expand their business - vertically. Photo: CambridgeHOK.

Growing as a process has largely unchanged since the dawn of time. Now with external factors starting to impact on growers around the world, it might be time to look at taking growing in another direction - up!



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18 May 2018

Agricultural efficiency has peaked, land available to farming is reducing through urbanisation and desertification worldwide, water resources are at a premium, food security is high on the political agenda and the world’s population is increasing by 80 million people per year and the United Nations (UN) forecasts a worldwide population of 9.7 billion by 2050.

Vertical farming is one part of the complex jigsaw to resolving these looming problems. Growers need to stop thinking in square metres only and think cubic metres.

Vertical farming is gaining traction and CambridgeHOK is at the forefront of developing the technology and building the facilities.

CambridgeHOK offer solutions to fit their clients’ budget, whether it’s a simple low technology system with two or three layers or a hi-tech facility with automation and complete integration they can provide a full advice, design, and build package on all aspects of a vertical farm.

Planning & Design

CambridgeHOK will work with you to understand your budget and technical requirements, the location and it’s construction restrictions, and what the critical features are that make your project a success.

They can work with you on your financial plan and offer assistance with your growing assumptions, physical, cooling, and electrical load calculations.

An initial site visit will enable them to provide a general scheme for discussion and an assessment of growing area, process flow, and potential yields.

Once they have created the concept they will create a Computer-aided Design (CAD) and 3D drawings to refine the design and agree the finer points.

“CambridgeHOK’s Vertical Farming knowledge means that we can offer you a tailor made solution, whether it’s a flat packed solution for export and self construction, a self contained vertical farm in a 20‘ or 40’ container to a fully integrated, automated system from seeding to harvesting”, said Steve Hinch,
finance director at CambridgeHOK.

Engineer and Construct

CambridgeHOK’s in-house engineering team design, calculate, construct and commission everything that is required for their clients’ vertical farm including:

  • Germination facilities
  • Racking and benching
  • Automation of benching
  • Irrigation and fertigation
  • Lighting, electrics and computer controls
  • Climate control including air velocity, humidity, de-humidification and temperature, all controlled to parameters as tight or as wide as you specify.
  • Seeding, harvesting, sterilisation and washing.


CambrudgeHOK have extensive knowledge of power generation and can provide an integrated CHP to provide the electrical power required for your vertical farm, cost effectively. They can even utilise the heat generated to provide the climatic cooling.

Technical Development

If you have a particular problem to resolve for your specific crop they can help to devise suitable solutions should you decide to go down the route of vertical farming.

Check out CambridgeHOK here.

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