German vertical farming start-up Infarm will set up a 9,760 square-metre vertical farm in the UK to supply herbs and salads to retailers in the greater London area and across southern and central UK.
The company has signed a contract for a new growing centre in Bedford, which will offer more than 5,500 square metres of growing space in its cloud-connected farming units.
At full capacity, the units - each occupying 25 square metre of ground space and 10 metres in height - can produce up to 18 million plants per year and generate the crop equivalent of 360,000 square metres of farmland.
Construction of the Growing Centre is currently underway and the company is on track for a first harvest in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Jeremy Byfleet, UK country director at Infarm, said, "Infarm has a clear goal to expand in the UK market. Our second UK Growing Centre located in the 'golden triangle' allows us to significantly increase the amount of fresh produce grown year round in the UK.
"The location of the facility enables us to serve 90% of the UK population within four hours, bringing the freshest plants just on time to our clients. Consequently, food mileage is substantially reduced."
Byfleet added that the new centre will be one of the largest indoor vertical farming facilities in Europe to date.
Each Infarm growing centre is designed to save up to ten million litres of water per year, or the equivalent of 95% lower water consumption than traditional agricultural methods.
Infarm has appointed Pentadel for selecting the site, designing and managing the new facility.
Pentadel has integrated rainwater harvesting into the design of the new facility, which is expected to capture an additional 2.5 million litres of water annually.
An 'Innovative Facility'
Commenting on the project, managing director of Pentadel, James Kemp, said, "We are thrilled to be supporting Infarm with the delivery of this innovative facility that we believe represents the future of sustainable, scalable and resilient farming.
"We are passionate about delivering projects just like this – projects that place the future of people and the planet at their heart – and I know the whole team is proud to play a part in Infarm's revolutionary story."
Infarm added that it would continue to operate its existing growing centre in Edmonton, North London, and is currently hiring for its locations in London and Bedford.
In the UK, herbs and leafy greens from Infarm are currently available at Whole Foods Market, Selfridges, Marks & Spencer, Fortnum & Mason and Budgens, as well as online retailers Weezy and Farmdrop.
The new facility will join its expanding global network of vertical farms that connect to a central farming brain, which gathers data constantly to improve plant yield, taste, and nutritional value, while continuously reducing the use of natural resources.
By the end of 2025, Infarm plans to expand to 100 locations worldwide.
In April of this year, Reuters reported citing sources that the company was exploring the possibility of going public through a merger with a so-called blank check company. [Photo Credit: Infarm_diephotodesigner.de]