Better Food for All: Innovation for improved nutrition

February 20, 2024 9:33 am

Tozer has recently been awarded funding from Innovate UK for a research project. It is entitled ‘Developing innovative lighting regimes for nutritionally optimised hyper-local living greens for Alder Hey Hospital patients’.

This project shares Tozer breeding and varietal development expertise with multiple academic and commercial partners specialising in optimising urban vertical farming, nutritional and dietary analysis.

Investigating the Nutritional Benefits of Wild Rocket, Kale and Lettuce Varieties Grown in an Urban Vertical Farm

The aim is to screen a total of 48 Tozer varieties of wild rocket, kale and lettuce. These will be grown using novel lighting regimes in an Urban Vertical Farm (UVF) to enhance productivity and nutritional value.

University of York and Vertically Urban will undertake the initial screening work to develop innovative lighting regimes.

Lynch Health Enterprises and doctors at Aldey Hey Children’s Hospital clinics in Liverpool will monitor nutritional and dietary analysis and patient impact of the optimised varieties. We already have a long-standing relationship with the University of York from previous research projects. This is a great opportunity for us to form strong links with UVF partners.

Our Approach

Tozer plans to use breeding and selection techniques to further optimise varietal development depending on the results of the initial screening work.

  • Tuneable lights will be installed at Farm Urban’s Liverpool-based UVF to implement the growing regimes of the optimised living greens that were selected from the screening work.
  • These will be locally distributed at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital clinics, alongside educational engagement and interventions by dieticians.
  • The aim is to distribute the produce for 10 months to allow a longitudinal study of the impacts on patient food choice and wellbeing.

There are three key areas of innovation of this project:

  • The production of hyper-local Tozer-bred living greens with unparalleled freshness and shelf life grown in cities via UVF.
  • The combination of hidden crop genetic diversity in Tozer varieties and novel lighting regimes to produce super-nutritious living greens within UVF.
  • Working with hospital clinicians and dieticians to provide hyper-local nutritious produce to families where diet is a risk factor. Alongside this there will be engagement activities to drive change in participant food choices.

This is a great opportunity for Tozer. It is an exciting project both from a growing and nutritional perspective. We can obtain valuable data on the performance of our varieties in an UVF. The best performing varieties can then be optimised for a UVF growing environment. Subsequently, they can be used for improving health and wellbeing of families.