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Urban Farming Group

Urban farming is often defined as “the growing and regional distribution of crops and raising of animals within the urban and peri-urban environment”.

It can take on many forms; for example, household, school and community gardens, as well as rooftop, vertical and indoor farms. Urban farming needs to be integrated into the social and cultural life, and the economics and metabolism of a city. Urban farming can span all actors; communities, activities, places and economies that focus on biological production in a spatial context.

At Harper Adams University we see urban farming as a way to rejuvenate urban areas, provide activities to encourage social innovation, as well as develop novel and successful business models. Urban farming can offer the means to nutritional and accessible food through local sources.

Relevant research at Harper Adams on this topic, funded through industry and government, has been on investigating;

  • the challenges urban agriculture faces in the UK, and the barriers for implementation
  • how widely-available LED lighting is radically reducing the energy cost of indoor growing
  • how we can optimise fruit production using advanced technologies like hydroponics, vertical farming and climate control, to produce commercial viable businesses
  • how we can integrate renewable energy sources into urban farming businesses
  • the creation of city circular economies that feed into urban farming systems

Additionally our interests at Harper Adams focus upon the legal and social constraints and opportunities, with the view to helping policy makers design resilient cities which generate sufficient, safe, nutritional food.



  • Rewatch the Future Farm Technology Expo webinar (3rd September 2020) on how technology can build trust for vertical farming - featuring Dr Laura Vickers of Harper Adams University, with Jack Farmer of LettUsGrow and David Farquhar of IGS Limited.
  • Rewatch Dr Laura Vickers from the Urban Farming Group in the FarmTech Society Present webinar series (19th August 2020) "Farming in the Future: Educating the Next Generation to Make CEA Scalable"


For further information on the Urban Farming Group please contact:

MRes Urban Agriculture

Harper Adams University has developed an innovative masters level research programme to train graduates who will be able to critically appraise a range of agricultural practices applicable in urban environments. The programme includes training in advanced research methods, specialist teaching to complement the student’s research interests and a research project on an aspect of urban agriculture agreed between the student and an expert supervisor in the Urban Farming Group. Please contact Dr Jonathan Cooper if you are interested in finding out more about this programme.

Find out more

Research notes


Research notes provide explanatory summaries of our current and completed research projects, aimed at non-specialists, students and practitioners in farming and associated industries.

Harper Adams University is a partner in Food and Farming Futures, the independent, collaborative news and information source for farming and food. You can also find research notes for any of our research projects on the Food and Farming Futures website.

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