Frequently Asked Questions

Unit 84 is currently closed as we are relocating the farm. Please see our blog for more news about our plans.

 

Can I come and visit?

No! (Sorry!). We don't have a farm up and running at the moment. Check out our blog for more details of what we're up to

Who are GrowUp Urban Farms?

GrowUp Urban Farms is a London business focused on industrial-scale Controlled Environment Production (CEP) farms, that produce the highest quality fresh produce.

Why did you start the business?

We want to change the production and distribution of nutritious food to make it more local and more sustainable. We aim to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and employ local people so communities can be more self-sustaining – something that will become increasingly important as our climate changes and our cities expand.

Where can I buy your produce?

Whilst we're relocating our farming system, we don't have any active production, so we're not selling any produce - check out our blog for more details on our current projects.

What are the environmental and social benefits of Controlled Environment Production for local communities?

The environmental benefits of our farms include reducing waste products from agricultural production and making use of previously unused brownfield sites. We can reduce the environmental impact and cost of transportation and packaging by selling and delivering to local customers.

A more local supply chain gives communities a chance to make informed decisions about the way their food is grown. Our food is fresher (as we deliver locally), grown more sustainably, doesn’t use harmful fertilizers or chemicals and is more consistently priced regardless of the season.

We are raising awareness about the way food is grown for people living in cities. Through our sister organisation, GrowUp Community Farms, we have already reached a wide range of audiences, including schoolchildren and hobby aquaponicists.

Our aspiration is to employ and train local young people who may have dropped out of formal education or been unable to find employment, and provide them with the skills, experience and confidence to work in Controlled Environment Production or develop transferable skills to help them move into the area they want to work in. The more farms we build, the more people we can employ, and the more communities in which we can have a positive impact.

Why do you want to grow food more locally?

By reducing the distance from farm to fridge we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases associated with the processes of refrigerating, storing and transporting food.

With growing urban populations, innovation in agriculture is necessary if we are to develop a socially and environmentally sustainable means of feeding people who don't have access to the space, or the desire to, grow their own food.

We produce greens that are sustainably grown for a local market – reconnecting people with the way food is produced and what it takes to produce it. This reconnection can help people to make an informed choice about the food they eat. With growing awareness and demand for ethically produced food, we’re pioneering innovation in food production for the cities of the future.

Are you currently hiring or taking on any new volunteers?

We’re chuffed that you find what we do so inspiring and interesting! Our aspiration is to employ local young people who may have dropped out of formal education or been unable to find employment, and provide them with skills, experience and confidence. Check out our vancanies page as any future opportunities will be posted here first.

If you share our passion for changing the way we feed people in cities, you may be interested in volunteering at The GrowUp Box, run by our sister organisaion GrowUp Community Farms.

Is your food organic?

Under current EU regulations, only plants grown in soil, in the ground, can be certified as organic. We grow without any chemical pesticides or fertilizers but our produce can’t currently be certified as organic in the UK.

Do plants grow faster in hydroponics than in soil?

We farm in a controlled growing environment — this means we control the amount of water and nutrients that reach our plants, and we have a growing cycle (the length of time it takes to go from seed to harvest) of around 2 weeks (and this varies depending on the type of plant). This is partly because our plants get the nutrients they need directly to their roots, and partly because we’re growing crops that are well suited to the nutrients that we use in our fertilizer. Using LED lighting tmeans we can grow year-round (traditional farming can't grow salads in the UK between October and February). This means that over the course of a year, Controlled Environment Production can be much more productive than traditional soil-based farming.

Can I come and visit GrowUp to film/photograph the farm?

Unit 84 is now closed as we are relocating the farm. Check out our blog for more information.