South West FarmerNew £3million glasshouse in Dorset will be agri-tech hub and learning center

Stewarts Garden Centers are nearing completion of the agri-tech glasshouse and education facility at Broomhill. Stewarts Agritech Glasshouse will enable the growth of a wide variety of plants to supply other south coast garden centers and farm shops with Dorset grown plants, reducing reliance on imports and safeguarding rural jobs.

The glasshouse is planned to be a commercial success, but it will also be a base of horticultural education for local schools and colleges, showcasing horticultural practice, agri-tech machinery, and low-carbon technology. The new 10,000-square meter glasshouse growing facility will enable the garden center to grow 500,000 plants during any one year.

Martin Stewart, managing director of Stewarts Garden Centres, said: “Ten years ago, it was a dream of ours to build a glasshouse like this. "We built this for commercial reasons, but we also built it to teach people about modern horticulture. We will have up to seven classroom facilities that could be used for primary schools through to education classes with Kingston Maurward College. We’re very proud to say that this is a sustainable venture, and we hope this is absolutely carbon neutral when fully operational.”

The new building was made possible thanks to funding from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Low Carbon Dorset.

Luke Rake, Dorset LEP Board Member and Principal of Kingston Maurward College, said: “This project is not just an example of an innovative business succeeding in agri-tech. This is a key education facility which will be used by local businesses, schools, and colleges like Kingston Maurward College.

"Projects like this will boost the agri-tech sector and benefit our local economy.”

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