A topping out ceremony has been held at Discovery Park to mark the external build of the fourth vertical farm for company GrowUp – and the start of recruitment for farm operatives.
The ceremony marked the handover of the building to complete the internal fit-out of the farm. GrowUp Farms has spent almost a decade perfecting products and honing growing expertise across three vertical farms, selling restaurant-quality greens that stay fresher longer. They grow crops year-round in a controlled environment, where the climate provides the plants with perfect conditions.
Kate Hofman, GrowUp’s co-founder, welcomed councillors from Dover and Sandwich as part of the ceremony.
An Egremont Russet apple tree will be planted along with other British heritage varieties as part of the landscaping around the farm.
Construction of GrowUp’s fourth farm started in early January, and the farm is expected to begin delivering its first harvest of ready-to-eat salad leaves to UK supermarket shelves early next year. The farm is connected to on-site renewable energy, which means it grows food with a lighter environmental footprint and a more resilient supply chain.
GrowUp is hosting a recruitment day on Saturday, July 16 from 10am to 2pm for residents to learn more about vertical farming and the skilled jobs available at the farm.
The first wave of recruitment is now open and there will be about 60 jobs at the farm once it is complete. GrowUp is an accredited Living Wage employer and has designed shift patterns at the farm to accommodate workers with caring or childcare responsibilities.
Anyone who would like to know more is invited to the recruitment day to get the chance to meet the team and the management of the business and to learn about vertical farming and working on the farm.
The new skilled farm operatives will start at GrowUp in early October, where they will develop a broad range of skills, applicable to vertical farming and food production – from seeding to packing, and a variety of production steps in-between. The roles are suitable for people with a background in horticulture or food manufacture, with full training and development support offered to all successful candidates.
All roles come with a benefits package, including enhanced parental leave, an employee share scheme, an employee benefits platform and a 5% employer pension contribution.
Kate Hofman said: “We are excited about the progress at our new farm in Sandwich, it’s brilliant seeing everything come together. We are now moving into the next stage of construction, installing the indoor growing technology. This is a major milestone on our progress towards growing more delicious, affordable salad, that stays fresher for longer in people’s fridges.
“The cost-of-living crisis means people are watching what they spend on food. More than ever, people want their fresh produce to be great quality and excellent value for money. We’re proud to be joining Kent’s great food and farming tradition.
“A big part of this is the recruitment day, where we’re encouraging local residents to come and meet us, learn about vertical farming and hear about the roles on offer. Our skilled farm operatives will have a variety of responsibilities, and a chance to develop a broad range of skills. If you’re interested, check out our LinkedIn page for more information and please come and visit on the day.”
GrowUp Farms is at 2 Montagu Rd, Discovery Park, Sandwich CT13 9FA