Ocado-backed Jones Food Company has broken ground on a massive new vertical farm in Gloucestershire it says will be the biggest in the world.
At 148,000 square feet, the multimillion-pound site in Lydney will be the second for Jones, whose current farm in Lincolnshire is one of largest in the UK – the size of about 26 tennis courts. When the new “Garden of England” is completed, Jones says it will be the size of approximately 70 tennis courts, with the ability to produce over 1,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables annually.
“With this new facility we further accelerate Britain’s position as a world-leader when it comes to vertical farming,” said founder James Lloyd-Jones. “We already supply thousands of British retail stores with basil grown in our first facility in Lincolnshire but this new site, which is three times bigger, will allow us to supply tens of thousands more stores and to widen our product offer with our partners.”
The prediction from the company is that it eventually will host 70% of the UK’s fresh produce under its roofs, with far less water and resources being used and the ability to grow year-round.
“Our food supply chain is under significant stress, with empty supermarket shelves and shortages of foods increasingly commonplace,” Lloyd-Jones said. “Vertical farming is undoubtedly a vital part of the UK’s and the world’s farming future.”
On the menu for the new facility will be a range of herbs, including mint parsley and coriander, salad, rocket and spinach.
Ocado, which has made a £17m stake in the future of vertical farming, is counting on market predictions that say it reach $24 billion by 2030.
For Jones, if it does stay hot, this likely will not be their last foray into expansion of its vertical farming.