World’s largest vertical farm to deliver leafy greens to UK supermarkets

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Four acre site set to produce as much veg as 1,000 acres of traditional British farmland, after Fischer Farms secures latest funding round

Six-an-a-half tonnes of sustainably-grown leaf-based salads, leafy herbs, and other fresh produce could be supplied to UK supermarkets every day thanks to plans to create the world’s largest vertical farm at a site in Norfolk.

Fischer Farms announced late last week that it has secured £26m of funding from sustainable infrastructure investment specialist Gresham House plc to help it develop 25,000 square metres of vertically stacked growing space.

Vertical farming maximises the use of land, allowing the planned four-acre facility to grow the same amount of food as 1,000 acres of conventional British farmland while using up to 98 per cent less water. Produce can also be grown without using pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides, and with no impact on the surrounding countryside, the company said.

Moreover, the Fischer Farms site is set to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy while producing vegetables and herbs all year round.

The Norfolk site will become Fischer Farms’ second vertical farm with Gresham House plc providing £26m through its British strategic investment fund (BSIF) strategy to support its construction.

The BSIF strategy focuses on local and regional projects that have a positive social or environmental impact, including in sustainable agriculture, digital inclusion, and waste recycling.

Fischer Farms promised the new farm would “lead the way in scalable food production and provide a more resilient and sustainable method to feed the nation”.

The point was echoed by Peter Bachmann, managing director of sustainable infrastructure at Gresham House, who said that recent global events had made the project more relevant than ever: “At a time of unprecedented global food and commodity prices, investing in the future of sustainable farming is appealing for so many reasons, and we are confident this commitment will help Fischer Farms to shape the fresh food production industry for decades to come.” 

The site is now set to open at the end of this year with the funding injection also supporting the recruitment, training, and upskilling its specialised labour force. In the next decade, Fischer Farms plans to scale its operations and reduce its cost base to enable it to grow soya beans, rice, and wheat in significant volumes, at costs that compare favourably to global prices.

Tristan Fischer, the company’s founder and CEO, said: “This investment demonstrates the confidence that Gresham House has in this revolutionary form of farming, and we look forward to working together in the coming years as we scale-up our operations to create a more responsible and sustainable food supply chain.”

Originally published in Business Green