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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

Tech firm opens new vertical farm

Vertivore near Birmingham will grow salads, herbs and greens in pilot project to make food production more sustainable

Tech firm opens new vertical farm

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A sustainable tech firm has opened a new vertical farm in Worcestershire in a bid to make food production more environmentally friendly.

The Vertivore site near Redditch, 15 miles south of Birmingham, was created by local company Astwood Group and will grow salads, herbs and greens.

The farm consists of a climate-controlled chamber with a stream of LED lights to grow produce, that it claims will have improved quality, flavour and nutritional benefits.

Michael Capwell, chief executive of the Astwood Group and founder of Vertivore, said: “Advances in technology have made foods available that were previously seasonal or regional, but with a devastating impact on the planet.

“In developing and launching the farm, we have successfully established an environmentally-friendly way of growing homegrown produce, without the use of damaging pesticides.”

Vertivore will use 70 per cent less water than soil-based farming, with production occurring closer to where the food will ultimately be sold and served. “This could be vital as and when we feel the impact of Brexit,” Capwell said.

With its pilot vertical farm up and running, Astwood Group has ambitious plans for the Vertivore brand, with an aim to scale up through the launch of new sites in strategic locations across the UK.

With produce grown and harvested 365 days a year, without the requirement for good weather, herbicides or pesticides, Vertivore says it has already received interest from a number of industry stakeholders.

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