OneFarm plans to create one of the largest vertical farms in the UK at Newmarket Business Park.
The first phase of the project would involve producing an estimated 415 tonnes of vegetables a year from 6,400sq m of indoor vertical growing space.
Another similar scheme by Fischer Farms taking shape at the Food Enterprise Park at Honingham near Norwich involves creating 25,000sq m of stacked growing space for salad leaves, herbs and other fresh produce for supermarkets at a £25m vertical farm which is being built there.
The vertical farming method involves indoor “growth towers” which produce food on a fraction of the land needed for conventional farming.
OneFarm’s plan is to use precise climate control and LED lighting to create a reliable environment to grow crops all year – without being hampered by weather.
Iain Dunnett, LEP Growing Places Fund senior co-ordinator explained: “The LEP is fully supportive of this project, which it views as a highly innovative development for our important agri-tech sector. The farm 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 resilience.
“Our support for OneFarm reflects our desire to make sustainable investments in the 21st century and we will play a very positive role in promoting this investment opportunity, alongside OneFarm, Abundance, and other partners.”
Vertical farming is booming in other countries, including the US, Germany and France, with both small and large farms being developed around the UK.
New Anglia LEP has invested £1m in the Food Enterprise Park and its Food Innovation Centre in Norfolk, which is currently under construction, and was part-funded with £2.7m from the government’s Getting Building fund and £1.44m from the LEP’s Growing Places fund.