Urban farming company groLOCAL is launching equipment to enable businesses to cut food miles and grow their own fresh produce on site.

The groTAINER shipping container - which the company describes as a fully-configured 'farm-in-a-box” - allows grocery retailers, restaurants and schools among other busineses to grow produce such as herbs, spices and micro-greens on their own premises.

This ensures that produce maintains its nutritional value, according to the company, which highlights the fact that a tender soft tissue plant loses 80 per cent of its essential oils and half of its vitamin and mineral content within the first day after picking.

“It’s possible for businesses to grow highly nutritious produce at just a fraction of the cost of buying from suppliers,” the firm added in a press release.

David Charitos, managing partner of groLOCAL, said: “Standing out from the crowd in the food market can be a challenge. But having the ability to grow your own spice, greens, and herbs can mean you have something different to offer customers and really gives you the flexibility to try different flavours, knowing that all the ingredients are fresh.

“Having the option to grow some of the produce used means cutting down on expenses in the long run too.'

The team behind groLOCAL are experts in hydroponic farming – the process of growing plants without soil, using nutrient solutions instead. This farming method makes it possible for businesses to grow plants anywhere, including urban environments.

The farm containers come with a fully-fitted production unit, including preparation and packing areas, meaning businesses do not need to find further space in their existing premises to accommodate hydroponic farming.

groLOCAL offers businesses the choice of either purchasing a groTAINER outright or leasing the equipment.