The vertical farming company, based in Burton-on-Trent, uses “ground-breaking technology” to grow greens and herbs “all year round”. The farm is fuelled by sustainable energy and boasts a “small land footprint” relative to traditional farming.
Greene King chief communications and sustainability officer Assad Malic said: “This is an exciting step on our journey to become a sustainable business and we are very pleased to be working with Fischer Farms. By using vertically farmed crops, we can offer our customers a UK supply of high-quality and fresh produce throughout year”.
The pub company has committed to 50% reduction of greenhouse emissions by 2030, through Science Based Target Initiative and a net zero target by 2040. It has announced it will introduce “vertically farmed basil” to 1,600 Greene King pubs this month, meaning the company will save on air freight and food miles otherwise used for imports.
The “high quality crops” produced by the conditions of “controlled light, temperature and irrigation” are further afforded benefit by the resistance of vertical farming to weather, meaning that crops are disease free and pesticides are not used.
Fischer Farms CEO and founder Tristan Fischer said: “We are incredibly excited about our partnership with Greene King and see this as a great opportunity to make a positive change to the supply chain. As we prepare to open the doors of the world’s largest vertical farm in Norfolk, we are ready to support the food services industry meet consumer demand for responsibly sourced produce.”
While the partnership will commence with vertical basil production, Greene King hopes to introduce more herbs and greens later this year, including chives and lamb’s lettuce.
Fresh Direct, Greene King’s fruit and vegetable supplier, also cited a “shared vision” of moving towards a sustainable food supply. Managing director Andy Pembroke added “Fresh Direct is firmly focused on helping to build a sustainable, British farming industry, so it’s great to work with Greene King and Fischer Farms on this climate-friendly way of supplying some fantastic British produce.”