CambridgeHOK is excited to participate in a groundbreaking initiative that aims to cultivate numerous leafy greens, fruiting crops, and culinary fungi within a 'vertical greenhouse.' The produce will serve an on-site restaurant, food hall, cookery school, and local businesses.
The distinctive undertaking, led by Seedleaves.com based in Hampshire, involves the cultivation of plants in a dedicated 480 sq m glasshouse facility designed and constructed by CambridgeHOK. The glasshouse will feature 210 towers, each standing nearly three meters tall.
After over two years of planning, the project has received planning approval, and the first phase – the construction of the specialized glasshouse – is set to commence in the New Year.
Seedleaves, recognized as approved UK suppliers and installers of Tower Farms, has been instrumental in pioneering the expansion of urban farms globally. Their project at Applegarth Farm in Grayshott East Hampshire will include 210 towers, each nurturing over 40 plants, encompassing a diverse range of fresh produce such as lettuce, herbs, edible flowers, tomatoes, strawberries, and micro herbs.
The cultivation process will utilize aeroponics, relying solely on water and nutrients, consuming only 5% of the water used in traditional soil-based cultivation. A liquid nutrient solution, comprising water and earth minerals, will be supplied to the plants atop the 2.8m high towers, allowing it to cascade down and nourish the exposed plant roots.
In addition to the towers, a designated area will focus on producing a variety of culinary and medicinal fungi, including Lions Mane, catering to both consumers and restaurants.
This innovative approach to food production has gained popularity globally, particularly in the Middle East, the US, and Europe, with 300 tower farms in 50 countries, utilizing minimal space, energy, and water, and eliminating the need for pesticides and fertilizers.
Seedleaves' Managing Director, William Benson, anticipates that this development could inspire similar projects in the UK, emphasizing the potential for hyper-local food production in urban environments.
The aeroponic greenhouse, at the core of the project, aims to provide a continuous supply of heritage fruit and vegetables, serving as the sole supply chain for various aspects of Seedleaves' business. The greenhouse will be integral to the deli, farm shop, cookery school, and restaurant initially, with plans for a larger artisan food hall and restaurant in the future.
Alan Frampton, sales manager at CambridgeHOK, expressed excitement about the project's environmental benefits and collaboration with Seedleaves. The vertical greenhouse, equipped with advanced heating, irrigation, and screening systems, is scheduled for completion in May.
Seedleaves has devoted the past year to refining this natural growing method and plans to offer educational tours and lessons to empower the local community in cultivating their own fresh produce within their businesses or homes.
William Benson acknowledges the crucial support from CambridgeHOK and Alan Frampton throughout the planning process, emphasizing CambridgeHOK's expertise as a key factor in selecting them for the project. The collaboration ensures the greenhouse meets its objectives and provides ongoing support for successful cultivation.