© Thomas Samson, AFP
UK retailer Marks & Spencer have extended their indoor farms to six other stores in London. In partnership with vertical farming specialist, Infarm, M&S has installed hydroponic indoor units that incorporate machine learning, Internet of Things technology, and eco-controlled systems to ensure the optimum amount of light, air and nutrients are used. Growing a selection of herbs, each unit can be controlled remotely via a cloud-based platform, which learns, adjusts and continually improves to ensure each plant grows better than the last one.
Infarm’s solutions offer environmental benefits, as each unit consumes 95% less water and 75% less fertiliser than soil-based agriculture. Each unit produces the equivalent size crop to 400 square metres of farmland, with absolutely no pesticide use. M&S has announced that it plans to continue rolling out in-store farms over the coming months.
Marks & Spencer is now offering in-store grown fresh herbs – including basils, mints, curly parsley and mountain coriander. The herbs are grown on Infarm vertical farming units at its re-opened Clapham Junction store in London, and the retailer is set to extend the programme to six other London stores by the end of the year.
Infarm’s innovative farming technology combines highly efficient vertical farming units with the latest IOT technologies and machine learning to deliver a controlled eco-system with the optimum amount of light, air and nutrients. Each unit is remotely controlled using a cloud-based platform, which learns, adjusts and continuously improves to ensure each plant grows better than the last one.
Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm said, “London represents many of the sustainability challenges that people will experience in cities over the next several decades. By offering produce grown and harvested in the heart of the city, we want to practice a form of agriculture that is resilient, sustainable and beneficial to our planet while meeting the needs of urban communities – first in London, and in the future, cities across the United Kingdom.”
Each in-store farm unit uses 95% less water and 75% less fertiliser than traditional soil-based agriculture and is capable of producing the equivalent of 400 square metres of farmland, resulting in a more sustainable use of natural resources and ensuring zero pesticide use.