A new vertical community farm will be built in a container park in York.
The farm is being built at Spark: York, a community interest company using shipping containers to provide spaces for local restaurants, retailers and entrepreneurs.
Vertical farming involves growing crops indoors, without soil, with less water and without the need for pesticides.
The farm was built to investigate how vertical farming can play a role in creating positive changes within our food systems, while also benefiting our health, environment and economy. The aim is to provide hyper-local produce to the surrounding businesses and locals.
It forms part of the FixOurFood programme, a leading food system research collaboration led by the University of York.
FixOurFood aims to transform Yorkshire food networks and develop regenerative systems that will create a fairer and more sustainable future for food production.
It will explore how these businesses can help tackle the health, environmental and economic challenges of how we produce, supply and eat food. This joint university-business community farm is the first of its kind, but there are plans to expand to other locations if the project is a success.
Professor Katherine Denby, project lead in FixOurFood said: ‘It’s fantastic to be working with Spark: York and LettUs Grow on this project combining research with action – growing fresh produce for the variety of local restaurants, working with the local community and evaluating the impact of Grow It York.
‘We hope to offer community slots for growing in the farm and are already working with eco and food groups in schools to design events around the farm. The indoor farm can grow produce all year round with the highly local supply chain promoting the local economy and less vulnerable to disruption from weather, pandemics, changes to international trade and so on.’
The farm is open to the public, who can visit to see produce growing. Those who want to taste the vertically farmed produce can pick up a free salad bag from Spark York’s General Store at Unit 3 on Thursday mornings.
Photo Credit – Dan Kluens