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Newmarket firm OneFarm calls for greater support to solve food security issues

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The CEO of a pioneering farming business in Newmarket has called on landlords to support businesses centred on home-grown food production in response to food security concerns.

Mira Merme, CEO of OneFarm, which recently leased a large unit in Newmarket, said: “Landlords need to realise and act accordingly to the emergency of providing UK grown food to local populations.

“Growing food in the UK is now a matter of urgency for food security and is becoming increasingly crucial. This is something we need to have rather than just being something it would be nice to have.

The company's Newmarket unit covers 70,000 square feet
The company's Newmarket unit covers 70,000 square feet

“Landlords should be rewarded by the government for appropriate lettings in this sector. Tax rebates linked to lettings to essential industries must be prioritised.

“It is also the responsibility of charitable trusts to be much more involved in this type of decision making and should be actively encouraging essential industries for the benefit of the UK.

“Taking responsibility for local communities includes the way assets are managed so landlords must be involved in decision-making together with the managing agents.“

A 70,000 square foot modern industrial unit on Newmarket Business Park was let to OneFarm, a UK based vertical farming company, earlier this year.

Acting for Mayfair Capital on behalf of the Property Income Trust for Charities (PITCH), Cheffins negotiated the deal, on a 25-year lease to OneFarm, which is one of the first vertical farming operators in Suffolk.

When complete, the farm will include a growing area in nine-metre-high towers, using LED lighting, which will be powered in part by solar PV panels mounted on the roof.

The farm initially will have the ability to produce around 415 tonnes of food including herb and salad crops, per year, and the production area will soon be increased to produce 1,000 tonnes of food per year.

Philip Woolner, director at Cheffins said: “The letting of this major unit at Newmarket Business Park goes to show Mayfair Capital’s commitment to supporting sustainable businesses, which offer carbon reducing solutions throughout the region.

“OneFarm is an exciting addition to this already well-established location, which is fast becoming a real hub for business.

“Vertical farming has seen significant investment recently, and we expect to see more lettings for this burgeoning industry.”