Engineering a circular UK food economy

Fischer Farms drawing big interest in new vertical farming facility

Produce Business report

Vertical farming specialist Fischer Farms said it is seeing “significant interest” from investors interested in its building of the world’s biggest high-yield facility in Norfolk.

Retailers and suppliers have asked the company about their plans and how they too can get involved in the game-changing business, which officials said will produce more than six tonnes of lettuce and herbs daily for retailers across the nation.

“Together with our talented team of experts across all areas of the business, we are setting the standard in vertical farming and leading the industry towards a more sustainable way of producing fresh food, grown right here in the UK,” said John Stapleton, Non-Executive Chairman. “Fischer Farms is playing its part in providing for post-Brexit food security, reducing our reliance on food imports, especially during winter/ spring months. It is fantastic to see manufacturers, retailers, distributors and investors recognising the potential of vertical farming and we look forward to sharing further partnership news in the coming months.”

Stapleton is a 35-year veteran of the industry, helping launch and grow food and beverage brands from New Covent Garden Soup Company back in the late 1990s to Little Dish, as well as being involved in a number of other transformative ventures from the UK to Ireland to the United States. He is helping founder and CEO Tristan Fischer streamline and manage operations.

Fischer Farms is already producing “short leafy green salad products and will soon expand into soft berries, other fruits, vegetables and ultimately staples such as rice, soya beans and wheat” at its current facility, one of the largest vertical farms in the UK. But this one will be something to behold.

Spanning four acres and 25,000 square meters of growing, it will run exclusively on 100% renewable energy. Climate controlled and automated, the facility will feature more than 4,000 LED lights that can be controlled to smooth the growing process. The new vertical farm will be 250 times more efficient that a traditional farm in production. And like others, there will be no need for herbicides or pesticides.

The group received a £26 million investment last year from asset management firm Gresham House.

“Sitting at the cutting edge of vertical farming, we have invested in the very latest technology and techniques,” Stapleton said. “We are poised for significant growth. The potential of this pioneering site, combined with our proven track record and strong financial backing, has positioned Fischer Farms as a key player in the fresh produce sector.”



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