Fischer Farms has begun work on a new, £25m farm in Norfolk which it claims will be the “world’s biggest” when it opens next May.
The operation will bolster an existing vertical farm in Lichfield, Staffordshire, which grows a range of short leaf products via a stacked, bio-secure, climate-controlled and fully automated system.
The new facility will create 25,000m² of growing space, which is enough to supply 6.5 tonnes of leafy salad, leafy herbs and other fresh produce to UK supermarkets every day.
CEO Tristan Fischer recently told The Grocer that his company also had plans funding in place for an additional three farms across Europe, as part of a bid to become a “mass market producer that can compete on price with field-grown veg”.
The business, which already supplies one well-known major veg brand from its Lichfield facility, was in discussions with a number of retail partners about supplying veg on “an affordable basis at scale”, from the Norfolk facility, he added.
“Our plans use the very latest vertical farming innovations, pioneering technology and 100% renewable energy to enable us to farm more responsibly, sustainably and more productively in order to feed a growing population,” Fischer said.
“As our production process is strictly controlled, we will also be able to guarantee a consistently higher quality, fresher tasting end product.”
Vertical farming enables the business to be much more productive using less space, he added.
“We can grow the same amount of food in our four-acre building that would take 1,000 acres of conventional British farmland. We will do it without using pesticides, herbicides or insecticides.”
Fischer Farms’ produce would be grown locally in the UK, would stay fresher for longer with no need to rinse and would slash food miles with its shorter farm to fork times, he pointed out.
“The volumes grown locally also mean we can produce food at price points comparable to field-grown crops too and provide retailers with greater reliability of supply throughout the year, reducing the reliance on food imports and creating the potential for more local jobs.”
“Food supply chains and our planet are both under enormous strain,” he said. “The Fischer Farms vision is to change the world by working with nature 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to produce the freshest, safest and highest quality British-grown produce all year round in the most environmentally sustainable way.”
Vertical farming is changing the way we produce our food and the technology is being showcased as this week's FPC Future event, which takes place on Thursday 4 November at Lincolnshire Showground.
Registration for the event is free and you can book now by clicking here.