Harvest London Leyton farm

Hydroponic farming business Harvest London has become the exclusive basil supplier of restaurant chain Pizza Pilgrims.

The vertically-grown basil is now being used in all of Pizza Pilgrims’ 12 London restaurants as well as their Oxford outlet, and within their nationwide ‘Pizza in the Post’ kits.

Harvest London has created a bespoke unit dedicated to growing the herb at its eco-friendly vertical farm in Leyton, North London.

According to the vertical farming company, the move will save Pizza Pilgrims over 250,000 food miles per year as they switch from an overseas supplier to the vertical farming unit just a few miles from their London restaurants.

It added that its controlled growing environment is “more space-efficient, uses 95 per cent less water than traditional farming methods and is pesticide-free”.

Pizza Pilgrims co-founder James Elliot said: “We’re very passionate about the prospect of working with the team at Harvest London to create a more sustainable way of sourcing fresh ingredients for our menus.

“As expected, basil is our most used herb and we go through 82kg a week, so by switching to local vertical farming it’s had a huge impact on Pizza Pilgrims’ carbon footprint.

“Basil is just the start; with this new science and technology we plan to be able to grow specific pizza ingredients any time of year, not needing to rely on particular seasons.”

Chris Davies, CEO of Harvest London, added: ' Using vertical farming within a few miles of the restaurants means we can put incredibly fresh basil onto the pizzas. It's only hours from harvesting to eating, not days. This means our crop not only saves emissions from transport, but the freshness also makes it taste better.”

Harvest London has previously worked withLondon chef Adam Handling at his restaurant The Frog Hoxton, and with Through the Woods in Crouch End.