Company Spotlight: Gardin
Published on 23 November 2022
Featured by Wired as one of Oxford’s hottest start-ups, we caught up with the team at Gardin to learn more about how the Milton Park-based company is using innovative agritech to grow better quality and tastier food.
Founded in 2019, Gardin is a UK-based agritech start-up operating at Milton Park, on a mission to deliver a more nutritious and sustainable future.
The company has developed optical remote sensing technology and analytics to assess plant physiology, which minimises cost and waste, and maximises produce quality.
Its tools and technologies empower food producers to grow superior crop yields with the highest nutritional density in a sustainable and affordable way.
Dr Sumanta Talukdar, Gardin’s Founder and CEO, explains more: “I developed a personal interest in food production which was born out of the question as to why all the fresh produce I buy looks great but really lacks in quality. Upon realising that most people in the food and farming industry were not monitoring their produce during the growing stage, I founded Gardin.
“At Gardin, we understand that farmers want to farm. So, we’ve developed an innovative operating system that runs in the background of farming processes to constantly monitor produce, optimise resources – whether that’s energy, water, or nutrients – and provide insights to the farmer so they have a holistic view on what their crops require for growth and whether to intervene.
“It’s a win-win for the farmer, the planet, and our ever-increasing population as we help food producers grow the highest-quality produce whilst reducing their costs and carbon footprint. In essence, saving waste and improving taste.”
What does Gardin do?
Doctors monitor our vital signs to make sure we remain healthy, before spotting problems and prescribing us treatments to correct the course, and Gardin believes that should be just the same with the plants we grow.
In a nutshell, Gardin’s analytics technology monitors plant health and informs the crop grower of actions they should take in order to cultivate a more nutritious, healthier produce. Through this method, a better yield of high-quality crops can be grown, reducing plant waste - addressing a key issue in traditional farming growth cycles.
When used in conjunction, Gardin’s sensors and analytics technology can tell growers if they need to reduce the light intensity or water used. This is particularly useful information for people that grow crops inside, also known as Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA).
Gardin was recently showcased in a BBC Click feature entitled ‘Agritech and the Future of Farming’. A huge achievement for the start-up, describing the experience as a “privilege” to be recognised as a company ‘doing good’ and paving the way for the future of farming. The BBC described the company’s technology as "telling the grower if the plants are happy or sad”.
Earlier this year Gardin was awarded a highly competitive Government Smart Grant from Innovate UK to work on an 18-month collaborative project with Scotland-based Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) and The James Hutton Institute, assisting with trials and development of its own tech.
Gardin’s team was shortlisted for The Europas 2022 Awards in the AgTech and FoodTech category, gaining impressive international recognition. Most recently, for its clever use of technology, Gardin was also shortlisted in the manufacturing category of the Financial Times' 2022 Tech Champions out of 300 submissions from across Europe.
Why Milton Park?
With Gardin’s Founder and CEO, Dr Talukdar, having also co-founded Milton Park-based WaveOptics, the company has always felt at home with the Park’s facilities. With good transport links and in an accessible location for the Gardin team, Milton Park has everything the business needs to grow.
Kate Dickinson, Office Manager at Gardin, commented: “Milton Park has a great community feel. The team regularly comment on the ability to bike around the campus and their foodie favourites – in particular, the burritos from the Milton Feast and street food van hotdogs!
“We have dedicated space for our Gardin Research Facility (GRF) at the Park where we can run our trials and have a separate office space which meets all our requirements as a company.
“Most importantly, the MEPC Milton Park team has been with us every step of the way to ensure we have everything we need and continue to do so as we grow and develop.”
To find out more about Gardin, please visit: www.gardin.co.uk