Last week the Green Lab team spent the day exploring the immense glasshouses and hydroponic systems of Netherhall Nursey – a sweet pepper farm run by our partner and advisor John Cappalonga. It was eye opening to see commercial hydroponics systems built for scale and serious production compared to the ‘slightly’ smaller ones we have set up at the lab.
Netherhall Nursery is owned by Gee Vee Enterprises Ltd and is located in the heart of the Lea Valley commerical glasshouse district 12 miles north of London. The nursery currently hosts 3 hectares of hydroponic sweet pepper production & is planning to diversify its output by investing in a state of the art aquaponics system in 2020. This investment represents not only commercial benefits, but also interests in sustainable produce and food security in the future, aquaponics being at the forefront of biodiversity. Gee Vee Enterprises Ltd. will become a commerical leader of de-coupled systems in the UK.
With aquaponics being a key area of development for the Lab we will hopefully be able to help research and implement the systems at Netherhall Nursery, providing a testing site for scale that we could only dream of. The collaboration between the lab and John is also extremely important to us as it connects us to the industry actually producing the food that ends up in our supermarkets, bonding the urban agriculture movement to real farming and food production. His knowledge of process, scale and production is invaluable, as is his expertise in growing, something that is learned from years of contact with your crops and growing up in a farming environment. With most of the lab residents only recently venturing into growing and producing food within the city, any expertise from seasoned pro’s is most welcome.