German vertical farming company Infarm has confirmed it has closed its UK growing centre in Bedford, which had been in production for less than a year, as well as in France, the Netherlands, Frankfurt and Japan. It is now planning to close operations in Copenhagen.
It announced last November that escalating energy prices and tough financial markets had seriously impacted its cost of production in affected markets and required ‘difficult decisions’.
At one point it had planned to operate a network of 15 growing centres in major cities, mainly in Europe, with a further 85 lined up by 2025 to offer a total cropping area of 50ha.
Meanwhile, Fischer Farms is planning to open what is believed to be the world’s largest vertical farm in the summer.
Following its 2017 start growing leafy greens in a shipping container, the company built its first vertical farm, which has a growing area of 3,200sq m, near Lichfield, Staffordshire.
The new facility, on a site west of Norwich, has an initial growing area of 25,000sq m with the capacity to increase to 75,000sq m. Founder Tristan Fischer told a podcast for Barclays Eagle Labs that its daily output of salad and herb leaves would be about 72,000 bags.
Crops such as strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes would follow, he said, once electricity costs could be reduced so the fruit could be sold at a price comparable to that grown more conventionally. In time, however, his sights are set on arable crops such as peas, wheat and soya beans. Results from a trial with wheat have been described as ‘extremely encouraging’.
The company’s expansion, which will see a third vertical farm built in Hull, has been supported by a £26 million investment from asset managers Gresham House.