How do we manage our competing demands for fresh nutritious produce, that’s locally grown and available all-year round? Can we do this while still reducing our energy and water use, and mitigating the effect of climate change? And what role does the growing of crops under glass or polytunnels play in a sustainable food system of the future? This is what our project sets out to explore.

Protected cropping seems like a logical way to increase the resilience of the agricultural food system and ensure a reliable supply of nutritious fresh food. It creates more year round stable growing conditions, controlling a range of inputs from water, nutrients, and pesticides while also reducing waste. However, demand for energy use is high in the northern hemisphere for heating and lighting, and it’s heavily dependent on inputs like water, as well as low paid labour.

We’re witnessing a trend towards fresh and local food. This is delivered by large agri-businesses through supermarkets, but also small urban start up’s delivering hyper-local food. But how will this production model play out into the future?

Certis Europe is working with Forum to develop scenarios for the future of protected cropping and inform a long term strategy. Certis Europe expertise is in crop protection with long history in high value crops and integrated pest management. Protected cropping includes growing under cover like glass or plastic for high value food crops and ornamentals. If you would like more information on this project contact Simon Billing.

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