Brewer Greene King partners with British vertical farming company in a bid to become more sustainable
National pub chain and brewer Greene King has partnered with vertical farming company Fischer Farms to source more sustainable, ‘home-grown’ leafy greens and herbs for its menus.
Based in Burton upon Trent, Fischer Farms uses vertical farming technology to grow its produce. The farm is run on renewable energy and its controlled light temperature and irrigation system allows for crops to be grown 365 days a year in undercover, stacked rack trays.
Its farming system isn’t impacted by changes in the weather and is ‘disease free’, says Greene King, which reduces the amount of waste created during production. It also doesn’t require the use of pesticides.
Starting this month, the farm’s fresh basil will be brought onto the menus of 1,600 pubs, meaning there is no longer a need for the company to import the herb from abroad.
“This is an exciting step on our journey to become a sustainable business and we are very pleased to be working with Fischer Farms”, Assad Malic, Greene King’s Chief Comunications and Sustainability Officer said in a statement. “By using vertically farmed crops, we can offer our customers a UK supply of high-quality and fresh produce throughout year.”
After introducing vertically farmed basil, the company hopes to also bring in chives, lamb’s lettuce, and watercress to pubs later this year, Malic added.
Tristan Fischer, Founder and CEO of Fischer Farms, said: “We are incredibly excited about our partnership with Greene King and see this as a great opportunity to make a positive change to the supply chain. As we prepare to open the doors of the world’s largest vertical farm in Norfolk, we are ready to support the food services industry meet consumer demand for responsibly sourced produce.”
Earlier this year year, Greene King committed to reducing direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 through the Science Based Target Initiative. Last year, it also announced it aims to reach net zero by 2040.
Interest in vertical farming and its benefits for agriculture is growing, especially in the UK. Last summer, a training scheme was established at HMP Hewell in Worcestershire, to teach prisoners how to grow produce using indoor farming practices, and in November, engineering industry charity Enginuity worked with start-up Farm Urban to launch a Minecraft game that introduces kids to vertical farming, sustainability, and engineering careers in the food industry.