Ben Crowther, male design engineer, smiles at the camera while holding freshly grown lettuce

Ben Crowther

Farming Futurist. Design engineer at LettUs Grow.

Male and female design engineers examine lettuce under UV lighting
Engineer pours seeds into vertical farming trays
Male design engineer smiles at the camera while holding freshly grown lettuce
Engineers hold circuit board used in sustainable agriculture

I’m from Reading and I’m passionate about the environment. I have developed a new way to farm using less water to feed more people and reduce the carbon footprint of farming.

 

My family all like making things. I grew up surrounded by steam engines, crocheting and my dad’s vegetable patch. I was the one who sorted the pipes and fences for the veg patch and liked to fix things when they went wrong.

 

I studied Engineering Design at the University of Bristol because it was recommended to me – my friend’s sister had also done it. I worked in web design for a while, but I wanted to make something more real and tangible than websites. I wanted to be my own boss and make a difference to the planet. At university, I had met people who were also passionate about reducing food waste and CO2 emissions. Together we developed new ways to grow plants and set up a business – LettUs Grow.

 

I’m Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder for our business LettUs Grow. The company aims to build the most efficient farms to feed the next generation. Instead of growing plants in soil, we cover plant roots in mist filled with nutrients. This increases the plants growth and uses less water than traditional farming. We also use less pesticides and the technique can be used across the world, from cities to deserts. While I have an engineering background, I know that sometimes the best solution isn’t the most high-tech. Engineering helps you develop a new way of thinking to find solutions to challenges.

 

My job is a real mix of business, software, biology and technology. I am always learning and I work with a team of experts to make sure the plants are growing perfectly. Together we grow over 50 different types of crop, including carrots, strawberries, radishes – and of course, lettuce.

 

I love how broad engineering is, from web design to engines, aeroplanes to farming. Engineering lets me find better solutions than what came before, and develop ideas to feed the planet.

Where to next?

Find out more about how you can turn what you love into engineering, and what a future in engineering could look like, by exploring the links below. And if you have a question or comment, get in touch, we’d be happy to help!