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New innovations – Lettuce Wall at Newtown College

Newtown College (Part of @NPTCGroup of Colleges) is going all green-fingered as it introduces a new Horticulture course. This exciting new addition has brought with it a new collaboration with Cultivate, and a new initiative with the introduction of a lettuce wall to the Newtown College Foyer.

The new Level 1 & 2 Horticulture courses will be available from September. The course will utilise the fantastic facilities of Cultivate to do practical work, including accessing polytunnels, allotments, and projects within their grounds include growing via CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture).

The eye-catching addition of the lettuce tower in the Newtown College foyer is part of the Crop Cycle project, a Farm Urban system to cultivate lettuce and other greens using a soilless system of vertical towers. This project is funded by the Welsh Government to introduce indoor growing CEA of food crops into communities. Whilst we live in a rural environment, new ways of nurturing plants, using what is known as hydroponics, is revolutionary and is growing in popularity.

Cultivate are piloting a number of different controlled environment vertical farming systems to grow hyper-local nutritious crops to offer within the community. Local, sustainably grown food is absolutely key in tackling important issues surrounding our food system, climate change and biodiversity. This will allow Cultivate food business to increase the amount of local foods produced and in turn, consumed, ensuring that growing models become more sustainable and that our population can eat more locally grown, sustainable, healthier produce.

Richard Edwards Cultivate Crop Cycles project manager said:

“They taste great, are highly nutritious and are super fresh, visit our Deli in Newtown to try them for yourself!”

NPTC Group of Colleges Head of Agriculture, Catering, Hospitality and Horticulture, Sue Lloyd-Jones said:

“We are very excited about introducing the Horticulture Courses to Newtown College. These courses are already popular in our Brecon Beacons, Neath College and Black Mountains Colleges. With this fantastic collaboration with Cultivate, it gives us extensive facilities and involvement with initiatives such as the CEA. The lettuce wall provides a point of education for students to learn about potential food sustainability and the subtle shift toward urban or hyper-local cultivation. It demonstrates how to grow plants without soil but in nutrient-rich water with oxygen and light. It also serves as a local edible wall producing greens for our catering department’.

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