Founders of Vertical Future, Jamie and Marie-Alexandrine Burrows.
Billy Wood

Deptford has its first vertical farm and it could hold the key to our urban future

A new vertical farm has opened its doors in Deptford housed within a previously disused warehouse.

Tech startup Vertical Future has launched the new farm, which is both the company and Deptford’s first vertical farm, just months after the company was established and sealed a six-figure funding package from HSBC.

In what is the first of a number of planned farms operating under the MiniCrops brand, the farm has been developed as part of The Artworks’ new Creekside development and will provide the local community and businesses with sustainably grown fresh produce.

Vertical farms have really begun to take off in the last ten years, with installations popping up in urban areas across the world with many touting the technique as holding the key to our future food supply while at the same time delivering a number of environmental and health benefits.

Its proponents argue that the technology can deliver more produce than traditional farming or greenhouses, and use less water to boot.

Locating the farms in urban locations can also help to cut down on delivery miles thus reducing emissions and helping to combat poor air quality, while crops can be grown year round regardless of season or weather.

Founders of Vertical Future, Jamie and Marie-Alexandrine Burrows said in a statement that their planned network of London sites will do more than just provide crops and produce, but also provide community outreach and engagement projects to help tackle some of our most pressing urban problems.

They said: “We want to make cities a better place for our children, and our urban initiatives are long-term responses to the ongoing issues of urbanisation.

“All signs following our launch have been positive and launching MiniCrops is our first real milestone as a new business.

“We want to promote fast but sustainable growth that will make a real impact on our local communities around each site.”

Crops at Vertical Future’s first MiniCrops site in Deptford. / Image: Vertical Futures

As part of its outreach work, the startup recently launched its mobile health app which links users with health and social opportunities in London, and the business is also developing its own air pollution device.

The vision for its Deptford site also stretches to local events with plans to host regular educational talks about sustainable food for local schools and at risk groups from Lewisham and its surrounding boroughs.

Lucy Wynn, HSBC’s Area Director for South London, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Vertical Future with these exciting first steps into making our cities a healthier place to live.

“We are passionate about projects that benefit the local community and with our funding Jamie and Marie have been able to turn their ideas into a reality.”

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