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Foresight invests in London vertical farming company

March 22, 2023

Foresight Group, the listed sustainability-led alternative investment manager, has announced it has reached an agreement with Harvest London, a UK-based controlled environment agriculture company, to aid the expansion of the vertical farming industry.

Founded in 2017 by Chris Davies and Matt Chlebek, Harvest London has built two farms so far, grown over 100 different crops using hydroponic vertical farming techniques, and partnered with brands including Pizza Pilgrims and Compass Group. Expansion of Harvest London’s production capacity, supported by Foresight, is driven by the increasing need for locally grown produce and strong positive feedback from Harvest London’s existing customers. It will allow the grower to expand into key retail markets.

With concerns growing about the security and sustainability of food systems, new farming methods are needed to reduce the negative environmental impacts of food production, including supply chain emissions, land and water use, and soil degradation. The investment in Harvest London follows investments by Foresight in greenhouses in the UK and a land-based sustainable aquaculture farm in Norway.

Harvest London’s indoor vertical farming approach delivers crops all year round of a consistently high quality, using no chemical pesticides, significantly reducing amount of fertilizer needed, avoiding agricultural pollution of rivers, and dramatically shortening supply chains This reduces the emissions from the transportation, processing, and refrigeration of food, whilst increasing the shelf life and reducing wastage. Vertical farms are controlled environments which help to reduce negative environmental impacts while improving productivity per square meter compared to traditional agriculture, strengthening food security of the UK.

The investment will allow Harvest London to expand its current operations, enabling it to supply a range of salads and herbs to customers in London and beyond. The company currently operates a farm in East London, which has been producing crops since 2020.

Harvest and Foresight have secured a 140,000ft2 unit in Beddington, South London and are currently developing a vertical farm for that space.

“Foresight is delighted to be working with Harvest London, a dynamic and growing company that will help the vital push towards a greener future for food production," said Matt Hammond, Partner at Foresight. "This approach to farming will play a pivotal role in shaping a more sustainable future and meeting the country’s food needs. The next phase of expansion will positively impact job creation and stimulate the local economy.”

“This investment is a sign that the vertical farming sector in the UK is maturing," added Chris Davies, Founder of Harvest London. "Although you might not yet have tasted something grown in a vertical farm, in the future this type of produce is going to be on your menu, whether that’s from a supermarket, in prepared food, or eating out. Vertical farming is a technology that can complement British agriculture, helping us reduce our reliance on food imports, and give consumers fresher, more local ingredients. We want to make the UK a world-leader in this exciting new industry.”

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