Words by Smiley Team
The UK is building the world’s largest vertical farm in an attempt to dramatically reduce the amount of food being imported into the country.
Vertical farming is a type of farming that has evolved to help grow food in the most efficient way possible. Particularly useful for small spaces, vertical farming involves using specially designed containers with room for multiple plants to be stacked on top of each other.
This ‘skyscraper farm’, created by Jones Food Company, will be based in Gloucestershire and will grow soft fruits, herbs and leafy greens, which are often imported into the UK from other countries.
Importing food requires the use of fossil fuels - not only for transportation by air or sea but also because the vehicles they are transported in must be refrigerated to prevent the food from going bad. Around 46% of all food eaten in the UK is imported - that’s a huge amount of fossil fuels being created.
That’s why eating locally grown produce is so much better for the environment. Although it still needs to be transported from the farm by road, that is much better than using a plane or boat to cross the sea.
And by making the farm vertical, far more produce can be grown in one space. The farm itself will be 15,000metres2 - about 10 times as big as a hockey rink - and will be able to produce an amazing 1,000 tonnes of food per year.
As an added bonus, because the plants are stacked vertically it uses up significantly less water for crop growth, meaning less fresh water is wasted. It’s a win all around!
DONATE: Give to Greenfingers, a charity which supplies gardens for children in hospice care.
VOLUNTEER: Get involved with Thrive, a charity which helps people garden to improve their mental health.