David Farquhar, Class of '75 and CEO of Intelligent Growth Solutions, captivated pupils at Schoolhill this week with an insightful exploration of vertical farming practices.

Enthusiastic Environmental Science and Geography pupils filled a Biology laboratory where they heard about David’s life beyond school. The delved deeper into the innovative concept of vertical farming, gaining valuable insights into sustainable agriculture and the cutting-edge technological advancements within the field. 

Mrs Jappy, Head of Science, shared: “David’s passion as a STEM Ambassador is clear and his commitment to fostering sustainable solutions left an indelible impression on our pupils, and staff.

“On his way to COP 28, he made a stopover at Schoolhill, emphasising the importance of cultivating a new generation of environmentally conscious leaders. This aligns seamlessly with his role as CEO of Intelligent Growth Solutions, a company at the forefront of revolutionising global agriculture through innovative technologies.”

Miss Reid, Teacher of Biology, said: “David and his team are growing plants at six times the rate of nurseries, and at two thirds of the cost for some varieties. The pupils were engaged right from the beginning when he shared the UN's statistics that we need more food in the next 30 years than in the previous 10,000 years combined. They were shocked to learn that if food waste were a country, it would be about the size of Canada and India combined and it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the US.”  

Zane (S5) stayed behind to hear more and asked David about the challenges. David happily shared that hardy plants are needed to thrive outside in the North East so they had to learn how to stress young starter plants so that they'd be ready for outdoor planting. Frazer (S6) said: “It was so interesting for me applying to International Business hearing how someone started up a business and the range of employees that he has and how businesses can support local communities through the John Muir Trust and tree planting.”

Mr Macpherson, Head of College, commented: "We believe in the power of education to shape the future, and having accomplished alumni like David Farquhar return to share their knowledge is truly inspiring for our pupils. 

“I first saw David’s work at COP26 and was hugely impressed by the solutions that the IGS vertical farms provide for the challenges of food production around the globe. He has kindly hosted our pupils on visits to see these farms in action since then, and this enables us to educate RGC pupils about the future of green tech, which is really exciting."

Following his engaging session at Schoolhill, David continued his mission at COP 28, contributing his expertise to the global discourse on climate action where he went on to meet with King Charles in Dubai, further solidifying his influential role on the international stage.

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Innovative agricultural entrepreneur inspires pupils with vertical farming insight