Kate Hofman inspires young minds at Institute of Imagination workshop

Kate Hofman inspires young minds at Institute of Imagination workshop


Our wonderful founder, Kate, teamed up with the amazing charity, Institute of Imagination for a fun, educational workshop.  

What went down? Well, Kate got to talk about the work we’re doing at GrowUp and answered brilliant, impactful questions from the Institute of Imagination. They dived deep into GrowUp’s ground-breaking sustainable farming methods, and let us tell you, it was anything but your average classroom lesson!  

The theme of the event was ‘Save, Make, Reinvent!’ –  Kate spilled the tea on sustainability and vertical farming. Her lively chat and passion for her craft sparked imaginations and inspired the next generation. Plus, she gave us the inside scoop on some seriously exciting job opportunities in sustainability. 

But it wasn’t just about fun and games – this workshop highlighted the importance of thinking outside the box when it comes to farming. With the world facing some serious climate challenges, innovative techniques like vertical farming are more important than ever. And thanks to Kate’s infectious enthusiasm and endless knowledge, we’re willing to bet there’s a whole bunch of future entrepreneurs out there, ready to make their mark on the world.

GrowUp Founder Kate Hofman named in top 10 of tech trailblazers

GrowUp Founder Kate Hofman named in top 10 of tech trailblazers

GrowUp Farms founder Kate Hofman has been named in The Grocer’s top 10 women shaping the future of grocery technology.

Talking about making this impressive top 10 of tech trailblazers, Kate said: “I’m both honoured and excited to be included on this list – and also a good shake-up of my imposter syndrome because I don’t think of myself as a woman in tech!

“I am really starting to take my position as a role-model in business seriously – again, not easy with that imposter syndrome whispering in my ear. And there is always more we can do to improve representation so that any young person with brilliant potential can look at people in positions of authority and power and think “that could be me one day!”

According to Kantar research commissioned by HelloFresh that The Grocer featured in their focus on this top 10, 49% of young women in the HelloFresh survey said that seeing more women in leadership roles would encourage them to enter the sector, and they are inspiring others to join them.

Kate is rubbing shoulders in this top 10 of tech trailblazers with some very impressive women, including: Hannah Gibson, CEO, Ocado Retail; Rachel Higham, chief digital and technology officer, M&S; Suzy McClintock, grocery and retail VP, Deliveroo; Claire Pointon, MD, Just Eat UK; Clodagh Moriarty, chief retail and technology officer, Sainsbury’s; Anne Marie Neatham, chief solutions officer, Ocado Intelligent Automation; Sophie Trueman, UK MD, Too Good To Go, Ursula Lavery, technical & RD director, Moy Park; and Taisiya Merkulova, data and tech e-commerce director – Europe, PepsiCo.

GrowUp Farms wins gold at Vegan Food and Living Product Awards 2024

GrowUp Farms wins gold at Vegan Food and Living Product Awards 2024

GrowUp Farms’ Unbeleafable rocket and baby leaves salad was named the best vegan side at the prestigious Vegan Food and Living Product Awards 2024.

The Unbeleafable range launched in Tesco stores across the UK last summer and the judges at the Vegan Food and Living Product Awards 2024 gave the rocket and baby leaves salad the gold award, describing it as “the perfect combination of fresh, healthy ingredients, innovative farming and sustainable practices”.

This is the third award for Unbeleafable after the rocket and baby leaves were named the Champion brand in The Grocer’s New Product and Packaging Awards 2023 Deli category and they also won the silver award in the Quality Food Awards 2023.


Pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms wins sixth award in six months

Pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms wins sixth award in six months

Pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms has added another award to its trophy cabinet after scooping the Best SME of the Year accolade at the edie Awards last week.

Now in its 17th year, the edie Awards are the UK’s largest sustainable business awards scheme and they celebrate companies that are making outstanding progress on sustainability initiatives. They are organised by business media brand edie, which delivers news and events to sustainability, energy and environmental professionals.

The edie award is the sixth award for GrowUp Farms in just over six months and follows hot on the heels of its success for its ready-to-eat, bagged salad brands, Unbeleafable and Fresh Leaf Co. which won The Grocer New Product and Packaging (Champion) 2023 and The Grocer New Product and Packaging (Silver) 2023 respectively. Unbeleafable also won Silver the Salad category in the All-Year Round categories in the Quality Food Awards.

GrowUp Farms won the Sustainability Excellence Champion (Climate) 2023 in the FPC Fresh Awards and GrowUp Farms founder Kate Hofman was named Southeast Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

GrowUp Farms became the first vertical farm in the UK to launch a branded, ready-to-eat bagged salad into a major supermarket group with the launch of Fresh Leaf Co. into Iceland stores in February 2023. Fresh Leaf Co. is also now stocked in SPAR stores too.

Last summer, GrowUp Farms also launched Unbeleafable, a range of ready-to-eat bagged salad grown at its farm in Kent. The salad collection is available to buy at Tesco stores across the UK.

The salad leaves that are grown at the farm are longer lasting than other salad brand on the market because they are grown in a controlled environment without pesticides or being chlorine washed – all processes that degrade the leaves.

Reflecting on the awards success, GrowUp Farms founder Kate Hofman said: “It’s a real honour to win SME of the Year award. While our journey as an SME began 10 years ago in a small shipping container on a roof in east London, the last year has really seen us reap the rewards of all of the hard work that we have put into getting to this point. Being able to say that we are the first vertical farm to launch a branded ready-to-eat salad into a supermarket group with leaves that last longer than other bagged salad is a huge achievement, and something we are proud of.

“We are grateful to the edie judges for recognising all of the work that we have undertaken to create a vertical farm that truly lessens the impact of its activity on the environment. We are ambitious, optimistic and passionate about growing salad leaves in the most sustainable way possible so that we can feed the nation with home-grown leaves all year round.”




Pioneering GrowUp Farms appoints Will Howard as new UK MD and CCO

Pioneering GrowUp Farms appoints Will Howard as new UK MD and CCO

Pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms has appointed Will Howard as its new UK MD and CCO. 

Howard, former MD at baby-food brand Ella’s Kitchen, who joined GrowUp Farms in February, was brought in to help GrowUp unlock their purpose of providing “Better Food For All” and support the team building the business to grow and sell more than one million bags of salad per week.    

GrowUp Farms CEO Marcus Whately said: “We are thrilled to have Will on board. He has nearly 20 years’ experience with major food and drink brands – and two of them with B Corps – so he absolutely shares our passion for marrying sustainability in food production with creating compelling brands. He is committed to business as a force for good and will be a great addition to our team. 

“We have always been a pioneering organisation, but we can’t rest on our laurels and Will gives us the injection of experience and energy which will ensure we continue to grow great tasting products that will help us grow the category.” 

A certified B Corp, GrowUp Farms is the first vertical farm to supply major UK supermarkets with bagged salad brands with the launch of Fresh Leaf Co. into Iceland and SPAR and the Unbeleafable range into Tesco – both already award-winning brands. 

Talking about his appointment to the newly created role of UK MD and CCO, Howard said: “I am extremely excited to be joining the team at GrowUp Farms, a vertical farm which is doing things differently, even compared to other vertical farms, and leading the way in how companies provide the best, most sustainable food for all, without compromising on taste. With a clear purpose to grow “better food for all”, a brilliant team and values to help guide how we get there, it won’t be long before we are growing nearly 1.4 million bags of salad per week.  

“My two daughters, aged nine and 12, are thrilled about my new role at GrowUp Farms. They love snacking on the salad leaves straight from the bag and are probably on their way to becoming our top consumers!” 

Prior to his roles at Ella’s Kitchen, Howard worked at Innocent Drinks, Red Bull and PepsiCo.