Suffolk picked by farming firm to grow crops VERTICALLY at Newmarket Business Park
Fields in Suffolk often stretch as far as the eye can see - but now one firm is planning to grow crops vertically.
OneFarm has unveiled plans for its first UK vertical farm installation at Newmarket.
The sustainable food producer is planning a 6,400m2 vertical farm, capable of growing up to 415 tonnes of food per annum.
It's a multi-million-pound investment for the company. Locally, the development will cost just short of £7m and bosses hope 10 jobs will be created in Newmarket - but double that will come via internships and research posts.
The new farm, on Newmarket Business Park, will grow a range of herbs and salads on-demand to avoid waste and unnecessary harvesting, with agreements already in place to supply selected retailers.
The farm will be delivered in partnership with indoor agritech specialist, IGS Limited, and is funded by both public and private investors.
OneFarm will work alongside Suffolk County Council (SCC) and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) to deliver the indoor farm. Construction will start later this year and the farm will play a significant role in the LEP’s development of its ‘Clean Growth’ ambitions for the region.
The first phase of development at Newmarket will deliver up to 6,400m2 of growing area in nine-metre-high growth towers, making it the largest vertical farm in the UK. A second phase is proposed to increase the growing area to 13,000 m2, increasing capacity to over 1,000 tonnes of crops each year.
The farm is expected to be fully operational in early 2023 as the first of OneFarm’s vertical farm hubs across the UK and will be retrofitted into an existing disused warehouse site.
OneFarm is committed to producing crops sustainably and in an environment requiring no pesticides or herbicides with a vision to operate up 25 indoor vertical farms in the UK.
Mira Merme, CEO of OneFarm, said: “Consumers deserve locally grown, fresh, good quality food, grown without pesticides and with low water usage, and OneFarm’s in-house brand, Wholly Food, provides just that, every day of the year. It’s truly local food for local people.
“We are excited to be at the forefront of this fast-emerging sector, which we strongly believe will play an important role in the future of food production.”
IGS CEO David Farquhar said: “OneFarm, Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia LEP are ambitious and forward-thinking, and steeped in both agritech and agricultural knowledge. We are very proud to have been selected to work alongside them to help deliver their combined vision.”
Iain Dunnett, Senior Growing Places Fund Co-ordinator at New Anglia LEP, said: “The LEP recognises that OneFarm’s Newmarket development will make a significant contribution to our Clean Growth ambitions for the Eastern Region of the UK.
"The LEP is fully supportive of the farm business, a highly innovative development for the important agritech sector. The farm will 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.”
Founded in 2013, IGS brought together decades of farming and engineering experience to create an agritech business with a vision to revolutionise the indoor growing market. Its commitment to innovation has continued apace to develop patented vertical farming technology which delivers solutions designed to drive efficiency and create an indoor environment with economy and simplicity at its heart.