It started out with a group of perhaps 5 people. Mark Horler, our founder, brought these people together to just have a chat about the industry in the UK. The short version, though it may seem hard to believe now, is that there really wasn’t that much of an industry in this country then. There were only a handful of companies developing tech and systems as well as a couple of universities with an interest in the general area.
However, slowly but surely, that number began to grow, and so did the number of people in that little group. At some point in late 2017, it was agreed that we ought to give it a name, and so UK Urban AgriTech (UKUAT) was born.
Over the next couple of years, an interesting thing happened. The UK had been slow to get going with controlled environment agriculture (CEA), but then it started to happen. More companies appeared, and more universities took an interest, as did various consultancies and other interested parties. Some of these joined UKUAT, which, at the time, was an informal collective. As happens with these things, they spoke to others, who spoke to others and, before we knew it, we had a fairly substantial number of members.
As all this was happening, we made a collective effort to start hammering out what we wanted this collective to be and do. Lengthy discussions were had, ideas were proposed and batted around, via our monthly online calls. In early 2019, most of the group met in person in Coventry. The main results of that meeting were a document detailing our aims, and another setting out our mission & vision.
These went back through the discussion & revision process. When we met again in London in late 2019, we all agreed it was time to turn UKUAT into a formal organisation. We’ve now done that, and it’s now time to get on with the work we want to do - education, outreach, policy, advocacy and more! We’ll be at events and partnering on all sorts of interesting projects in the coming months (and years).
So keep your eyes peeled for much more from us!