High-tech, soil-less, and brimming with life: the vertical farms of tomorrow

Vertical farms are the brand new agricultural frontier, with new schemes bobbing up throughout the nation. On the launch of a ten,000 sq ft plant manufacturing unit in Berkshire, Martin Wright digs into the hope behind the hype

It’s a light autumn morning and I’m in a farmyard in Berkshire. But it surely’s not like all I’ve been in earlier than. On one facet, a pop-up marquee, internet hosting a reasonably glitzy launch of a model new agricultural innovation. To see it in motion, we cross to the opposite facet of the yard, into an unlimited new windowless constructing, extra warehouse than barn, and enter a courageous new world.

White partitions, spotlessly clear flooring, brilliant lights and rows and rows of hardboard and metallic frames, out of which spring tiny pots of vegetation – spinach, basil, all method of leafy greens, herbs and spices. These splashes of greenery apart, it appears to be like extra like a tech hub than a farm – a picture enhanced by the white lab coats of its operators. There’s fairly a sci-fi really feel to all of it, as if we’d simply beamed up into the Starship Enterprise. Not a scrap of soil in sight, not a beam of pure gentle.

It’s farming, Jim, however not as we all know it…