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Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

Unit(s) of assessment: Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology

Research theme: Sustainable Futures

School: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences


The group focuses on teaching modern production methods and management of plant crop, agronomy and post-harvest issues. We also specialise in delivering the knowledge and skills needed to implement safe practices in the production of food, as well as understanding microbial food spoilage and toxin production.

Research Areas

  • Sustainability of agriculture
  • Innovations and attitudes and behaviour relating to agriculture and food
  • Vertical framing and urban agriculture
  • Horticulture and garden design
  • Interactions between feed materials and gastrointestinal physiology in production species
  • Animal physiology, and animal nutrition to improve gut health and production
  • Livestock behaviour welfare and housing

Case Studies

Hydroponic growing system in greenhouse

A hydroponic growing system in a greenhouse

Feeding the Future

An increasing world population combined with climate change and pressure on the nature resources threaten global food security. Rapid urbanisation is a global phenomenon that is occurring in most countries in which the urban population has been forecasted to double between 2000 and 2030. In the UK, nearly 70% of vegetables and fruits come from the EU. Brexit will bring significant strategic risk and cost. A major restructuring of UK agriculture is needed to maintain food security. There is an urgent need to identify and develop alternative and inexpensive methods for sustainable food production and supply.

Sustainable agriculture can improve crop yields and quality with the most efficient use of non-renewable resources. We use a novel vertical growing system and various innovative technologies including automated precision control systems and LED light to optimise crop production efficiency and to increase quality of food.

The outputs of the project will enable the successful commercialisation of novel urban farming systems in the UK, China and other countries. This will provide fresh, safe and nutritious food all year round. Helping to improve urban food security, reduce the environmental impact of food production, create local employment and contribute to community health, wellbeing and the sustainability of cities. In particular, this evaluates the impact that future cities will have greater reliance on local green growth and the resulting successful development, commercialisation and wider acceptance of urban farming. This Case Study is led by Professor Chungui Lu.

Related staff

Academic Staff

Research Fellows

PhD Students

  • Akinyemi Motunrayo
  • Alexander Kemp
  • Alexandra Desbruslais
  • Alsudani Ali
  • Amir Saba
  • Dinish Nadaraja
  • Niamh Mahon
  • Rashd Swesi
  • Sophie Prentice
  • Sumaiya Afrin

Related projects

Our current research projects include:

  • Recovery and Valorisation of Food Chain Waste Nutrients with a Duckweed Biorefinery (BBSRC - FoodWasteNet) - Professor Chungui Lu
  • LED Lights Enhance Metabolites and Nutritional Value for Human Health and Food Security (Materials Research Seedcorn and Yvonne Barnett) - Professor Chungui Lu
  • Programming genome with LED light in tomato (BBSRC DTP and Steven Grundy) - Professor Chungui Lu
  • Urban Agriculture: Ensuring Resource use Efficiency in vertically integrated farming (CFFRC and Nanjun Jiang) - Professor Chungui Lu
  • Dietary intervention to Enhance Pig Health and Performance Pre and Post Weaning (Impact of Pre and Probiotic Feed - Additive in Monogastric Species Gut Health: A Key Piece in the Sustainability Challenge?) (Saba Amir) - Dr Emily Burton, Dr Dawn Scholey, Dr Melanie Le Bon