Fischer Farms

This interview details Fischer Farms, a leading vertical farm in the UK. The interview is with Tristan Fischer, CEO of Fischer Farms.

Source: Fischer Farms

What is the origin story of Fischer Farms?

Fischer Farms was established in 2017 by green energy expert, Tristan Fischer. Fischer Farms began operations in a shipping container growing short leafy greens. 

In 2019, Fischer Farms’ first vertical farm opened in Burton-on-Trent, providing 3,200 m2 of growing space - one of the largest vertical farms in the UK. The facility produces a wide range of short leaf products, such as rocket, via a stacked, biosecure, climate-controlled and fully automated system.

Following a multi-million-pound investment from Gresham House, Fischer Farms is poised for significant growth, and will open the world’s largest vertical farm in Norfolk this summer. The 4-acre site houses 25,000 m2 of growing space – enough capacity to supply 6.5 tonnes of leaf salad, leafy herbs and other fresh produce to UK supermarkets and other customers every day.  

The new farm  will use the very latest vertical farming innovations, pioneering technology and renewable energy to enable us to farm more responsibly, sustainably and more productively in order to feed a growing population. As our production process is strictly controlled, we will also be able to guarantee a consistently higher quality, fresher tasting end product. 

Source: Fischer Farms

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Fischer Farms in the future?

Government policy around planning, energy and water are the biggest barriers to vertical farming. 

Finding the right land, with the right renewable energy infrastructure, is extremely difficult, and planning can be a significant hurdle for vertical farming. We need a simplified planning process, which gives consent for both the building and renewable infrastructure, allowing us to build our own neighbouring solar, wind or battery farm to power operations. 

When it comes to grid access, new sites face a long wait to be connected. As an industry that will play a vital role in food security, we need priority access to the national grid with no government-imposed curtailment. We also need easier access to mains water. 

If the wider vertical farming sector is to become a significant food source for UK supply chains, we need the UK government to stop standing in the way of progress, relax legislation, and let us get on with our mission. 

Source: Fischer Farms

What is unique about Fischer Farms compared to competitors? How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?

The Fischer Farms vision is what sets us apart from our competitors. Our ultimate goal is to feed the world with nutritional, high-calorie foods, powered by 100% renewable energy. This sits at the heart of everything we do at Fischer Farms. 

With over 20-year’s of experience in the renewable energy sector, I have been involved in several large-scale clean energy infrastructure projects, and have worked with some of the world’s leading companies, such as Citigroup and Shell renewables. I have also supported some of the most promising SMEs, including Camco, C-Capture, Lumicity and Dukosi Ltd. This experience in renewable energy and Agritech will support Fischer Farms as we strive to deliver a scalable and more sustainable food production industry.  

Growing short leafy greens is just the start for us. As we expand operations at our second farm in Norfolk – set to be one of the world’s largest vertical farms – we will move into soft fruit production. Ultimately, we want to grow high calorie crops such as rice, soy and wheat at price points that compare favourably with field grown crops. 

Our recent wheat trials have shown that this is possible, with a harvest cycle time capable of delivering five crop cycles per year. This means that we can grow the equivalent of 273 acres of conventionally grown wheat, in a 10-acre vertical farm. Further development of the seed, growing environment and light technology will continue to provide significant improvements to this performance. It is this drive to safeguard global food security that makes us unique. As we heavily invest in R&D to make this happen, we aim to lead the way for scalable vertical farming.

Adding further validation to our mission is the buy-in of both investors and major retailers. They believe that this vision is achievable, and it’s already in progress. It is brilliant to see these parties recognising the impact that vertical farming will have on food security by supporting us on this journey.  

We measure ourselves on the scalability of our output, which is what brings us closer to our vision. We also measure ourselves on the quality and consistency of the produce we grow. Supplying a consistently high-quality product to our customers is what will build trust in our innovative processes and continue to attract the investment required to support our scalability aims. 

How can people connect with you or learn more about Fischer Farms?

www.fischerfarms.co.uk 

www.linkedin.com/company/fischer-farms-ltd

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