Largest urban farm in Europe opens in Bedford

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Largest urban farm in Europe opens in Bedford
Largest urban farm in Europe opens in Bedford

Related tags Supply chain

Infarm, the vertical farming company, has opened one of the largest urban farms in Europe and its first high-capacity Growing Centre in the UK in Bedford.

The facility measures 10,000 sqm and can feature up to 40 Infarm cloud-connected farming units, each standing 10 metres high. Each unit can grow more than 500,000 plants per year – the equivalent of a football field worth of crops, the company said. 

Each Growing Centre uses 95% less water and land than traditional agricultural methods and saves thousands of food miles, the company said. It also revealed that the location of the new facility means that fully equipped, it can serve 90% of the country’s population within a four-hour drive. The Bedford site will also implement rainwater harvesting, which it estimates will capture 2.5 million litres of water, which will be used for conditioning the plants.

Local economy boost

The opening celebrations at the facility this week saw Jo Churchill, MP, Minister of Agri Innovation and Climate Adaption at the Department of Food and Rural Affairs, and Mohammad Yasin, Member of Parliament for Bedford, both in attendance. 

“Infarm is capable of producing up to 20m plants across the UK every year, and its new facility in Bedford will be a fantastic boost for the local economy. We want to be world leaders when it comes to innovation; our Food Strategy is committed to boost food production in sectors including horticulture, and we are spending £270m on unlocking innovation in agriculture,”​ said Churchill. 

Yasin added: “The UK is overly dependent on food imports leaving us dangerously exposed to food insecurity and soaring food prices so I’m really excited that Bedford is now home to one of Europe's largest vertical farming facilities at the forefront of new ways to grow more food domestically. 

Low carbon footprint

“The prospect of growing food with a low carbon footprint, without the need for chemical pesticides, using the latest in green technologies is very promising and it’s great that Bedford can play its part in bringing food closer to the people on a scale that might one day feed the nation.”

Meanwhile Erez Galonska, CEO and co-founder of Infarm said that the Infarm Growing Centre in Bedford enables the company to increase the amount of fresh produce grown locally in the UK significantly. 

In the UK, Infarm's herbs and leafy greens are offered at Whole Foods Market, Selfridges, Marks & Spencer, Fortnum & Mason, Budgens, as well as at the online retailer Getir. In addition, Infarm’s fresh produce can be tasted at restaurants in London, including Michelin Star locations, Pied a Terre, Sabor and Hide.

The new Growing Centre in Bedford will be part of Infarm’s expanding global network of vertical farms. By the end of 2030, Infarm plans to expand to 20 countries. 

Related topics Fresh produce

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