GrowUp Farms to create 40 jobs with vertical farm at Discovery Park

New to Discovery Park Image GrowUp Farms

GrowUp Farms, a UK-based salad grower, is building a vertical farm at Discovery Park in Sandwich and is due to recruit a 40-strong workforce.

GrowUp Farms and sustainable infrastructure company Generate Capital, have announced an investment exceeding £100m for the delivery of energy-efficient vertical farms, starting with the farm at Discovery Park.

Generate Capital is a Public Benefit Corporation that builds, owns, operates and finance sustainable infrastructure projects. The San Francisco-based company, which also has a team in London, has more than 2,000 projects operating around the world in sustainable energy, agriculture, transportation, water and waste.

Using 95 per cent less water than conventional growing methods, without the need for pesticides and directly powered by renewable energy, GrowUp’s farm will bring longer-lasting salads to supermarket shelves all year-round.

GrowUp Farms uses technology and growing expertise that it has developed across three vertical farms, enabling it to sell restaurant-quality leafy greens. The technology is integrated with the on-site renewable energy at Discovery Park to drive down the costs of vertical farming, while cutting down on food waste in the supply chain and at home.

GrowUp’s controlled production environment means the salad leaves do not need to be processed, which preserves quality and life on the shelf and in the fridge. Salads from the GrowUp farm are expected to save up to three million lorry miles per year by avoiding imports, and will create new permanent, skilled jobs in Kent and elsewhere.

Kate Hofman, who co-founded GrowUp in 2013, said: “Discovery Park gives us access to on-site low carbon renewable energy which enables us to produce competitively as well as focus on our environmental impact. Being located in Kent means we have a local economy and workforce that specialises in food production and distribution.”

Mayer Schreiber, Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Park, said: “This investment will bring game-changing technologies to Kent, making a sustainable difference to how we feed ourselves.

“GrowUp has joined our growing community of companies – such as HyPoint with its hydrogen fuel cell technology – who are literally transforming their respective industries and supply chains to make our planet more sustainable.”

For further information on the company and its new home visit and


  1. Kate, what you’re doing sounds admirable but you’ve been taken in too easily by the energy supply there. Burning mature and healthy trees is not “renewable” in the now critically short timescales within which climate change has to be dealt with. Neither is it low carbon, as the CO2 emissions per unit of energy are often higher than coal. I am really disappointed with you saying what you have above.

  2. Vertical farming such as this can certainly be more environmentally friendly if done in the right way, especially as you can grow so close to market, but powering it by burning trees is definitely not the way forward. The sooner this is removed from the government’s list of ‘renewable’ energy the better. It would be more environmentally friendly just to use electricity from the national grid, since a fair portion of that is from genuine renewable sources.

  3. You’re both wrong. Carbon emissions from coal are roughly double that from mains gas. Carbon emissions from burning logs as fuel are a tiny fraction of those from mains gas. Even when factoring in transportation. Only about 40% of our national grid’s electricity is from renewable sources. The rest is from burning fossil fuels.

    As long as the logs come from well managed and replaced trees the carbon emissions from burning them are the same as if the tree died naturally.

    • Thanetian Blind, your argument ignores the carbon emitted per unit of energy. That is what matters, and it would be so much better if our trees were allowed to die naturally, releasing their carbon and nutrients back into our environment over many years, not prematurely executed and then incinerated in seconds into useless ash.

      • Also to add it takes decades for a tree to grow to replace the one cut down and to draw in significant quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere to make up for what the cut-down tree was drawing in. Also the emissions involved in transporting the trees from wherever they have come from to Sandwich must be pretty significant. Huge lorries drive along the Thanet Way almost daily piled up with trees.
        I also wonder where these trees come from- certainly I can’t think of anywhere in the south of England, or anywhere in the UK, that has sufficient woodland to meet the supply here, so I do wonder if these are being shipped in from abroad.

        • I can understand how the coppicing approach can confuse the layman but it is a perfectly legitimate approach to encourage new tree growth. Old trees can absorb far less carbon than a young tree. It’s happened for millennia.

          Of course there are emissions involved in transporting the wood but it is still more environmentally friendly than relying on mains gas or grid electricity.

          Smothering the building roof with solar could be part of the answer but this would need to be accompanied with huge investment in solar battery storage to provide power when it is needed – not just on sunny days.

  4. Why is utilising the predicable tidal power available from the river nearby not under consideration?

  5. If they were to install Solar Panels with battery storage facilities this would be best in my opinion. If they were to also have a fish farm within the building with the water circulating through the produce area’s the fish waste could at least give the produce some form of nourishment.

  6. While you are all arguing the toss, can I ask where will the labour come from? I eat out at a small cafe for lunch, and the other day Cauliflower was missing from roast! I asked why, and was told their supplier was unable to source them, since most farm labour was from the EU, and they have all gone home! Hope I will have better luck today as I will be having Shepheard’s Pie made from real Shepheard’s for lunch!

  7. Shame the discovery park also wastes the generated energy keeping empty office well lit at all hours, would it cost too much to put some PIR sensors in so the lights went out in unused offices?

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