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Kate Hofman, Founder of GrowUp Farms:

"We know how to create a level playing field for vertical farmers, now the UK government is taking our advice"

"At GrowUp, we've been working with several UK government departments to raise awareness of vertical farming, and our industry's ability to deliver many of the Government's major policy objectives to make farming better for the environment, as well as boost green jobs and investment in the food sector. But we don't have access to the same funding structures as conventional farming, so we're not competing on a level playing field," says Kate Hofman, Founder of GrowUp Farms.

At this week's Farm to Fork Summit at 10 Downing Street, the UK government announced a new blueprint to grow the UK Fruit and Vegetable sector. This included a recommendation from GrowUp to extend the Sustainable Farming Incentive (a subsidy paid to farmers for, you guessed it, farming sustainably) to put vertical farming and other forms of horticulture on a level playing field with other food producers.

Kate Hofman pictured at 10 Downing Street

"Under the Sustainable Farming Incentive, UK farmers are paid to improve their farming practices to deliver the Government's 25-year Environment Plan. GrowUp eliminates many of the problems from the get-go. Using less water, and less nitrogen and with zero agricultural runoff and no pesticides, vertical farming could help England to meet its environmental goals much more quickly," Kate adds.

This new commitment from the government puts vertical farms on an equal footing with other farms producing high-quality food and taking care of the environment. This shows the government is recognising the role that vertical farming can play in building a resilient and sustainable UK food system.

This year's Farm to Fork Summit at 10 Downing Street, and the commitment to make this a yearly event shows the UK government understands the vital role that British producers and businesses play in the economy, the environment and keeping people fed.

GrowUp Farms' UnbeLeafable salads

Boasting about the event, Kate shares, "It was a privilege to represent the UK vertical farming sector at the event, along with other producers, Jones Food Company and Fischer Farms. In the chats that I had at 10 Downing Street with growers and producers from across the UK food system, there was a clear consensus that there is a significant opportunity for the UK to become more food secure. Production from across the spectrum of controlled environment growing can enable the UK to produce more than the 17% of fruit and 55% of vegetables we eat that are currently grown in the UK."

GrowUp was the first vertical farm to introduce a brand of bagged salad into a UK supermarket chain, and we're now stocked in Tesco, Iceland and Spar. We're demonstrating that vertical farming is a viable part of the UK food system – not a science project! And we're proving that B Corp-certified businesses can lead the way in promoting sustainable, climate-friendly food production.

For more information:
[email protected]