A food company that already supplies around one third of the UK’s fresh-cut basil to supermarkets has announced its plans to build the world’s largest ‘skyscraper farm’ in Gloucestershire.

Jones Food Company already operates one vertical farm in Lincolnshire, where plants are grown on trays on top of each other indoors, thereby saving a huge amount of space.

The plants are fed by pipes delivering water, feed and nutrients. The temperature and humidity are controlled and light mimics the hours of sunlight. In addition, the inputs are controlled to ensure the product is uniform.

According to the company, the new farm will apparently equate to a whopping 96 tennis courts stacked on top of each other. However, the plan is not ambitious for the sake of it. As a spokesman for the firm says, in 2020, around 46 per cent of all food consumed in the UK was imported, so the vertical farming method hopes to significantly reduce the country’s carbon footprint by growing it here instead.

As Jones’s Head of Growing commended, it will not be long before it becomes unacceptable to air-freight fresh herbs into the country, so being able to grow such produce in the UK will have a massive impact on the environment.

In addition, because vertical farming is carried out indoors rather than in the countryside, there is no risk of fertilisers running off and polluting the water streams. The company says it does not use pesticides and that growing food vertically uses 95 per cent less water and can be done using 100 per cent green energy.

Summing up, the founder of the company, James Lloyd-Jones said that the war in Ukraine has confirmed the fragility of the food supply chain, while at the same time climate change has played havoc with crop yields. Therefore, building the proposed vertical farm was “a no-brainer”.

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Posted in Agriculture, Blogs.