Kent Science Park is a hotbed of agricultural activity as the number of food-based companies at the Park continues to grow. Maintaining the ‘Garden of England’ status that Kent boasts, Kent Science Park now houses a cluster of food companies that provide for the planting of crops right through to distribution across the world.
As part of BEST Network, the largest portfolio of Science and Technology Parks across the UK, Kent Science Park has linked with five other successful Science Parks. The BEST Network has created a multitude of innovation in every sector of Science taking place up and down the country.
In terms of the food cluster at Kent Science Park, Boundless Horizons is most certainly leading the way in crop innovation. The invention and deployment of Solar Grow 1 (SG1), a solar powered horticultural box that is capable of producing mass seedlings. As an example it can produce 100,0000 tomatoes seedlings a month or as a mixed crop unit the SG1 makes it possible to supply and support up to 500 smallholdings, including a school, with the produce grown in underprivileged corners of the world. So far, the SG1 has been deployed to several sites in Kenya to assist Rift Valley farming developments and is due to start development programs in France to help rejuvenate suffering forestry, and India 2013-14.
PlantWorks continues to expand its operations in supplying biologically active planting treatments for gardens, horticulture and agriculture. Over ten years, their scientists have refined and packaged products offering customers a sustainable alternative to chemically derived planting treatments and encourage the healthier growth of food and plants. PlantWorks’ extensive range of products is now sold throughout the UK in over 2000 outlets, including garden centres, DIY outlets and supermarkets, under its Empathy brand.
ToxiMet and QTS Analytical are two highly experienced food-testing companies based at KSP. From high-speed mycotoxin testing carried out by ToxiMet to the thorough analysis of pesticide residues in fresh produce and food products performed by QTS Analytical; the chemical examination of food in the industry is expertly catered for at KSP.
QTS Analytical is also one of KSP’s newest tenants. Managing Director, Steve Gardner spoke about why he thought KSP was so attractive to food companies: “Kent Science Park ticks all the boxes by offering a large supportive network and being so positive about the growth of scientific businesses. There are like-minded companies situated on campus and the Park offers excellent transport links”.
ALS Food and Pharmaceutical, another food testing business provide a comprehensive range of microbiological, physical and chemical testing services combined with industry leading technical expertise and customer service. ALS, QTS and ToxiMet all offer an extremely quick turnaround of testing and can guarantee top quality service. ToxiMet have also recently won an International Innovation Award at the International Nut & Dried Fruit Congress in Barcelona for their groundbreaking ToxiQuant system.
With access to 100mbs broadband, KSP is the ideal place for companies such as Merit Technology to develop. Merit helps food-based companies to manage distribution, ingredient measurement, production planning and purchase ordering. Their systems help clients to drive up sales, boost productivity and profitability.
Kent Science Park can cater for the food industry from the initial growing of a product right through to final purchase nationwide. It has proven itself as a place of excellence in the food sector, covering many aspects of production.
James Speck, Director at Kent Science Park comments: “It is outstanding to see our food cluster on the Park developing and see such quality businesses choosing to locate their companies here. We have world-leading experts based on the Park, constantly producing revolutionary work. Kent Science Park has earned its status as a truly innovative place to be”.