A vertical farm in Suffolk is close to completion, say its operators.
The OneFarm development is being created inside a disused warehouse in Newmarket and is set to be one of the largest in the UK.
The 6,400m sq facility will be capable of producing 415 tonnes of food a year. A second phase is set to involve an area of 13,000m sq which would increase the overall farm capacity to 1,000t a year.
Nine metre-high growing towers will produce a range of vegetables, herbs and greens on demand to avoid waste and unnecessary harvesting - with agreements in place to supply selected retailers.
The aim is to strengthen the UK’s food security. No pesticides will be used.
The public-private collaboration has been supported by a £2.5m loan from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growing Places Fund.
An investment platform developed by Abundance Investment has raised a further £3.8m.
More finance has come from CreditForce, Intelligent Growth Solutions and One Farm’s directors.
Representatives from West Suffolk Council and New Anglia LEP and other investors were given a first look inside on Thursday, February 2.
Construction of the first phase began in autumn 2022 and is due to become fully operational in early 2023.
LEP chairwoman C-J Green said vertical farming would be a key contributor to the UK net zero target - with lower artificial nutrient requirements and shorter transport and supply chains.
"The farm will contribute significantly to crop science and research across the agri-tech sector and will also cater to the desire for localised and sustainable supply chains that ensure greater food security for local populations," she said.
"It will also contribute to the world-leading science and research base that exists in the East of England in relation to sustainable food production, land use and climate resilience."
OneFarm chief executive Mira Merme thanked the scheme's supporters.
"Innovation and disruptive businesses are really supported when investment decisions such as those made for with us by Suffolk County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership," she said.
"We are truly grateful and will deliver on our remit to provide largescale environmentally sustainable, tasty nutritious affordable food for local populations."
West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said they were "delighted" OneFarm had chosen Newmarket for the innovative farming project.