Cambridge HOK turn warehouse into high- tech vertical farm

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Made in Yorkshire member and East Yorkshire based business, Cambridge HOK has transformed an empty industrial unit into an indoor farming space growing fresh herbs. Produce from the space could be delivered to restaurants in London in a matter of hours. 

Based in Leyton the vertical farm is being operated by Harvest London, a company dedicated to overcoming difficulties in sourcing herbs and vegetables 12 months a year by producing them in specially-built controlled environments. The first full crop is almost ready to be harvested just four weeks after being planted.

The unit has been converted into a 1,646 sq ft facility where herbs can be grown in perfect conditions across four levels. The grow room is controlled by automated climate and irrigation systems to aid production and maximise growth, using energy-saving LED lighting.

The first product of the racks will be basil which the farm can grow around seven tonnes a year. The major benefits being guaranteed quality of product and locality to customers.

 The sophisticated and high-tech system enables the Harvest London team to control climate remotely via their mobile phones and analyse data on yield and growing capacity.

Jason Tether, project manager at CambridgeHOK, said: “It has been very rewarding to work with a grower dedicated to ensuring food is grown much closer to customers and the point of consumption, helping uphold the quality of product and reducing food wastage.”

As well as the grow room, CambridgeHOK constructed a harvesting room and production management area, where crops will be processed and made ready for collection and delivery.

Matt Chlebek, chief agronomist at Harvest London, inset, said: “We started the business having spoken to local chefs about providing freshly grown herbs just a few miles from their kitchens, thereby reducing the distance and time from production to consumption. This was something they were excited about.

That is why we turned to CambridgeHOK, and we are delighted that we did.”

He added: “We can certainly look to increase the number of restaurants we supply now, and ask chefs what herbs they want us to grow, and when.

“The plan is to demonstrate the increasing demand at this facility and secure further investment to create more, larger Vertical Farms across London in the coming years.”

 

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