Marks and Spencer Food is partnering with infarm, an advanced urban farming platform, to deliver a range of fresh produce grown and harvested in a selection of M&S’ London stores.
Starting from today (12 September), customers will find a range of fresh herbs, including Italian, Greek and Bordeaux Basils, Mint, Curley Parsley and Mountain Coriander, growing at M&S’ newly re-opened Clapham Junction store in South West London.
This will be achieved with infarm vertical farming units, which are set to roll-out to a further six London stores by the end of the year.
Infarm’s farming technology combines the vertical farming units with 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.
“Infarm’s innovative farming platform is a fantastic example of what can happen when passionate agricultural, food and technology experts work together,” Paul Willgoss, director of food technology, M&S Food said.
“We operate as part of a complex global food supply chain and want to understand the emerging technologies that could help provide more sustainable solutions, whilst also delivering fantastic products with exceptional taste, quality and freshness for our customers.”
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 meters of farmland.
M&S will be the first UK retailer to work with infarm, and the partnership will be supported by the construction of a series of infarm distribution centres in and around London.
“London represents many of the sustainability challenges that people will experience in cities over the next several decades,” Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of infarm, added.
“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."
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.