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.”