In a groundbreaking achievement, GrowUp Farms has emerged as a pioneer in the field of vertical farming, paving the way for a sustainable and pesticide-free year-round salad supply. The innovative farm, powered by 100% renewable energy and supported by local farmers, is set to revolutionise the way we grow crops.
Earlier this year, Holly Branson popped into a pub in Sandwich, Kent to chat with Kate Hofman (co-founder), and Marcus Whately (CEO) to learn more about their journey – which has been pollinated with purpose from the very first shoots.
The journey of GrowUp Farms was revealed to have begun with Kate personally cycling across London to deliver the first leaves grown in a modified shipping container. GrowUp, at the forefront of vertical farming since 2013, has recently achieved a remarkable milestone in their journey. After a decade of dedicated efforts, the farm has become the first in the United Kingdom to introduce its own branded leaves, brilliantly named Unbeleafable. This venture brings forth a revolutionary approach to agriculture that benefits the environment, boosts productivity, and reduces waste. The team’s dedication and unwavering commitment have resulted in Unbeleafable’s rapid expansion, making it readily available on the shelves of numerous Tesco supermarkets.
As Kate eloquently expressed, “We’ve taken a disused brownfield site and inside it we’ve created the equivalent of 1,000 acres of traditional Grade 1 farmland. The footprint of the land we’re using is a five-acre site.”
Unbeleafable products have revolutionized the freshness of salad, markedly extending it’s shelf life. Addressing the prevalent issue of wastage, research conducted by GrowUp discovered that a staggering 98% of respondents admitted to discarding bagged salad leaves.
Marcus Whately explained, “When we’re growing in a vertical farm, what we’re trying to do is give the crops the perfect environment to grow. It’s a Mediterranean spring day for them all day, every day… We’ve now got something that stays fresher for longer, lasts longer, reduces waste, and offers better value for money.”
The unmistakable taste and crunch of these fresh leaves exemplify the success of their approach.
Holly Said: Thank you to everyone at GrowUp Farms for paving the way toward a more sustainable food system, and showing leaders everywhere that reaping what you sow can be a wonderful thing if you embed purpose at your roots.
Watch the full interview here and see further insights from Holly.