THE LEX COLUMN: High energy use is the only catch for vertical farms
Food delivery technologist Ocado is investing in stacked farms to provide year-round herbs and salad leaves to its customers
Those fearing post-Brexit food shortages can sigh with relief. Ocado is investing in vertical, or stacked, farms to provide year-round herbs and salad leaves to its customers. The food delivery technologist is spreading £17m between a stake in UK commercial grower Jones Food and a joint venture with Dutch and US suppliers of vertical-farming equipment and expertise.
The opportunity for Ocado is clear: top-notch greens fetch a premium and demand for them is soaring. The company plans to roll out vertical farms near its existing warehouses. Ocado also thinks vertical farms might entice customers of the technology packages it sells globally by enabling the rapid delivery of fresh produce. The only catch concerns the dubious sustainability of the technique.