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.”