East London city farm, GrowUp Urban Farms, supplies fresh, sustainable greens and herbs. The company combines hydroponics (growing plants without soil) and aquaculture (fish farming) in a recirculating system. With ten layers and 6,000 square feet of growing space, GrowUp plan to produce more than 1,995kg of salads and herbs, and 3,991kg of fish, per year. “Everything is freshly harvested to order and then delivered just around the corner to our local customers within 12 hours of harvest," says co-owner Kate Hofman of GrowUp.
GrowUp supplies fresh greens to local restaurants and the feedback is always positive: “We use it because it’s got amazing flavor, really peppery, mustardy,” says Joel Braham, chef at The Good Egg restaurant, London. “It doesn’t matter what time of year we get the salad, even in the middle of winter, it’s always the same. To find a salad producer that’s ten miles down the road in the middle of London is brilliant.”
Hofman believes LED lighting offers a number of benefits for growing sustainable food. “When we control what light plants are receiving, we have more control over their overall growth. This means plants germinate quicker, their roots grow faster and we get bigger yields. “In terms of energy usage, LED lighting systems can use reportedly 85% less energy than traditional methods. The use of LEDs rather than fluorescent lamps, for example, helps us to further lower our energy consumption.”