our facilities

Our Vertical Farms use energy-efficient lighting systems to grow leafy greens in trays racked 15 levels high. They represent a revolution in productivity and a sustainable alternative to field-grown crops.

Vertical farming

Fischer Farms uses big data to optimise growing conditions and highly automated harvesting processes to create gourmet produce at industrial scale. Leafy greens (such as rocket, watercress, chard, basil, dill and parsley) are grown from seeds in a medium such a rockwool or perlite with all the nutrients delivered in a water solution – no soil is required.

 

Our climate-controlled environment and data analytics tools optimise seeding and re-growth by providing the perfect mix of light, nutrients and water. So, we produce hundreds of harvests annually, compared with the five or six available for field-grown crops – with minimal manual intervention.

 

These Vertical Farms operate all year round and are entirely independent of the volatile (and often extreme) weather patterns that disrupt the production of field-grown crops. This ensures retailers and packers of a stable supply of produce from a single source that eliminates the need to import food.

LED: lighting the way

LED lights are critical to Vertical Farming as they produce very little heat, which allows lights to be very close to the tops of the plants without causing heat stress. This means layers of plants can be stacked tightly, increasing the use of space. LEDs also have the advantage of being very energy efficient, which reduces energy consumption and costs. Finally, LEDs can be dynamically manipulated to provide exactly the right wavelengths of light to accelerate plant growth and enhance taste and texture.

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LIGHTS ON OUR FIRST FARM
A sustainable alternative to field-grown crops

The closed system approach of Vertical Farming contrasts sharply with field-grown methods which – strange as this may seem – would be rejected on environmental grounds if they were introduced today.

 

For example, farming techniques in many parts of the world result in large amounts of topsoil loss: this takes hundreds of years to replace and is, from a human perspective, a non-renewable resource. The run-off from conventional farming also frequently contaminates adjacent waterways.

 

Additionally, about 25% of agricultural production depends on underground aquifer water. This is being depleted much faster than it is being recharged by rainfall. It is anticipated that much of this aquifer water will be exhausted by 2060.

 

Conventional farming is also becoming increasingly unviable as it is subject to changing weather patterns: While the overall trend is towards a warmer climate, weather changes make it very difficult for farmers to know what types of crops to plant: should they be drought or flood resistant, for example?  Changes in weather patterns also have an impact on the types of disease and parasites that affect plants and can also result in significant food waste.

 

In this context, Vertical Farming is a very necessary alternative to field-grown crops.