Fischer Farms – pioneering innovations in vertical farming

(Earth day, Human hands holding blue earth, save earth concept. Elements of this image furnished by NASA)

Fischer Farms has one vision. To create a more resilient and sustainable way of feeding the nation.

With a growing population and diminishing natural resources, strains on current agricultural practices threaten to overwhelm the planet. By drawing on its teams’ expert knowledge, and investing in the latest vertical farming innovations, Fischer Farms can achieve its goal of transforming the future of farming.

The first step in this journey was the creation of its vertical farm in Lichfield – one of the largest in the UK. Here, Fischer Farms grows a range of short leaf products via a stacked, biosecure, climate-controlled and fully automated system. Its second site – the world’s largest vertical farm – to be completed in 2022, ensures it is at the forefront of this revolution.

This means rapidly embracing new innovations and technology that boost productivity and reduce its cost base. This commitment has seen Fischer Farms recently upgrade the equipment at its first vertical farm, enabling the team to increase operational efficiency and trial scalable, next-generation practices for its second site. These investments include:

 

Green growth

Fischer Farms first vertical farm is a highly automated, biosecure, climate-controlled environment, which operates at peak performance 365 days a year and provides yields 250 times greater than conventional farms.

With 3,200 m2 of growing space, it is one of the largest vertical farms in the UK. Here, leafy greens, including salad and herbs, are grown in trays racked 15 levels high and harvested via a highly automated process.

Produced in its biosecure facility, crops are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, ensuring the highest quality of fresh produce, without any contamination to the environment.

 

Lighting the way

LED lighting is crucial for vertical farming as it produces very little heat and allows the light to be placed very close to the plant, without causing any heat stress. This means that the layers can be tightly stacked, maximising the use of space. LED lighting is also very efficient, reducing Fischer Farms’ energy consumption and costs.

 

Big Data

The facility uses the very latest data analytics tools to optimise its fully automated growing, harvesting and reseeding systems. By constantly assessing big data, the team can provide the perfect mix of light, nutrients, and water, enabling them to produce hundreds of harvests every year, with minimal manual intervention.

 

Protecting the planet 

Fischer Farms’ closed system approach means there is no impact on the surrounding countryside from issues typically associated with traditional farming, such as topsoil erosion or chemical run-off.

Operations use less than 5% of the water required for field-grown crops and the site is powered by 100% renewable energy.

 

Skilled workforce

As pioneers in vertical farming, Fischer Farms has built a highly skilled team, who have been trained and upskilled in this revolutionary form of farming. With decades of experience in green energy and sustainability, the team all share the same vision of feeding a soaring population without exhausting Earth’s finite resources. By combining this passion with their AgroScience and big data knowledge, they have the power to transform the future of farming to create a more sustainable food supply chain, that is accessible to all and kind to the environment.

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