AMBITIOUS PLANS for vertical farm expansion could look to turn the tide on seasonality, by diminishing the need for out of season imports.

Edinburgh-based start-up Shockingly Fresh has unveiled its plans to build more than 40 indoor vertical farms over the next five years, securing the rights to one site in Scotland and four in England, covering a total of 50 hectares.

The start-up has claimed the indoor farms will be capable of growing up to five times the amount of greens currently possible with traditional farming methods, using low cost, natural lit vertical farms using hydroponic towers.

With increased yields projected for their operations, the firm believes they will help British growers boost crop production and in doing so, reduce the UK’s reliance on off-season imports from outside the UK.

Behind the scenes, Shockingly Fresh has teamed up with technology providers Saturn Bioponics and specialist salad growers ValeFresco. Chief operating officer at Shockingly Fresh, Gareth Bryans, commented on their plans: “We have identified a significant market – particularly around the early and late season shoulder months – which is currently filled by imported crops from Europe.

“With our system we can significantly extend the shoulder months and offset the need for early and late season imports – plus we can bring in heating to extend the season further if the market is there.”

Shockingly Fresh is now looking for investment to kick their plans in to action and are looking to engage with brownfield site owners as well as traditional agricultural land holders.