OneFarm, the UK-based vertical farming company, announced on Monday that it has raised £7.5M (approximately €8.7M) to build its first phase of a 70,000 sqft farm in Newmarket, Suffolk, England.
The latest capital will help OneFarm to fund the construction, equipment, and fit-out of the first seven, 9m-high controlled environment growing towers, enabling the first harvest to be brought forward to Q4 this year.
The announcement comes five months after launching crowdfunding through the ethical investment platform — Abundance.
Commenting on the achievement, CEO Mira Merme says, “Although we have further to fund the complete project, we are delighted to have reached the level where we can build the first phase and create the exacting conditions for growing our fresh produce. After that, we can focus more on constructing the farm, growing our much-needed produce, and finalising discussions with retailers and catering companies, who will be our first customers.
How was OneFarm born?
In an interview with Abundance, Mira Merme says, “I have been interested in food production for a long time. I set up an indoor farming solution for mushrooms in the early 1980s. But by the early 1990s, it became clear that climate change impacts would impact yields for open field agriculture and potentially have a big effect on the quality and cost of food.”
Consequently, Merme started to look for ways to build indoor farming. However, the skyrocketing cost of LED lights at that time stopped her from building vertical farming.
“It was not until 2016 that I felt there was an economically viable solution for growing larger varieties of food indoors. That’s when I began the first research stage for the business that became OneFarm,” she adds.
OneFarm: All you need to know
The company’s indoor vertical farms produce food using indoor growth towers at a fraction of the land needed for conventional farming.
OneFarm’s modular approach will use highly precise climate control and LED lighting technology, allowing a single site to grow a highly reliable and flexible produce supply, 365 days a year, regardless of the weather.
She adds, “As we have been saying for some time, the food supply situation in the UK and worldwide continues to deteriorate. Fresh, healthy, tasty food with proper environmental credentials must be grown and sourced locally. We have the ambition to do this at scale, helping to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported greens, herbs, and vegetables.”