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Home » Ocado-Backed Jones Food Company Opens Second Vertical Farm In Gloucestershire

Ocado-Backed Jones Food Company Opens Second Vertical Farm In Gloucestershire

A huge vertical farm that will grow fresh produce indoors using renewable energy has opened in Gloucestershire. The farm is the second for Scunthorpe-based Jones Food Company (JFC), which opened its first site in Lincolnshire in 2018 and an innovation centre in Bristol in 2022.

The farm – known as JFC2 – is near Lydney and will grow crops vertically, including basil, coriander, flat-leaf parsley, dill, green lettuce, red lettuce, baby leaf pak choi, ‘Bulls Blood’, mizuna, komatsuna (commonly known as Japanese spinach), and baby leaf cress (a variety of watercress).

JFC, which was founded by James Lloyd-Jones in 2017 and is backed by Ocado, builds indoor hydroponic farms, growing fresh produce in a completely controlled internal environment on layers stacked from floor to ceiling.

Like this story? Why not sign up to get the latest South West business news straight to your inbox. Mr Lloyd-Jones, founder and chief executive of JFC, said: “This farm represents a coming-of-age for agricultural technology in the UK; we have now cracked the code for accessible, sustainable, premium food being grown all-year round, at a super-competitive price. Commercial success in this sector has always been the challenge, but this farm smashes it.”

Ocado Group’s chief financial officer, Stephen Daintith, said JFC2 was an “important strategic investment” for Ocado and represented a “significant step forward” in the vertical farming space.

“At Ocado Group, we are passionate about the long-term potential of vertical farming for both the food industry and for the environment,” he said. “We are confident in JFC’s leadership and on their ability to execute on their vision – we look forward to supporting them on the way ahead.”

JFC2’s output now includes supplying own-label herbs as well as the company’s own homegrown range of mixed salad bags and Lēaf – its range of sauces and salad bags.

Glyn Stephens, head of growing at JFC, added: “A lot of vertical farmers have focused on lights, but temperature and humidity control are where the real energy guzzle has traditionally been this is why it’s been a core focus for us opening this new site, its small changes and learnings from JFC1 that mean this system now accounts for a much smaller proportion of our energy usage.

“Irrigation is another massive innovation in this farm and the system in JFC2 is boundary-pushing, ground-breaking, utterly unique and another key brick in how we deliver premium product, at a great price, at scale. These aren’t small steps, they are giant leaps which allow us to put ‘vertical farming and profitability’ into the same sentence for the first time.”

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