SMARTKAS, a leading player in vertical agriculture, has joined forces with BerryWorld, a renowned soft fruit specialist, to revolutionize how strawberries are grown and consumed in the United Kingdom.
The two companies have teamed up to launch a cutting-edge vertical innovative farm in Harlow, Essex, with 12 layers and over 27,000 sq. m. of growing space. This creative project uses artificial intelligence to control all aspects of the growing cycle, from lighting to temperature, ensuring optimal growth conditions for the strawberries.
“Increasing consumer demand for locally grown strawberries means producing in the UK year-round has never been more important. Built over 12 layers and with the largest growing capacity in the UK, our vertical smart farm can support retailers throughout the year,” said Dr. David Meszaros, CEO and Founder of SMARTKAS.
Thanks to the expertise of BerryWorld in technical, varietal, and marketing aspects of the fruit industry, SMARTKAS can bring the strawberries grown at the Harlow-based farm to the UK market. These strawberries are harvested year-round, addressing the country’s reliance on imports during the off-season. This will reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and provide consumers with fresh, locally grown strawberries all year round.
“Our partnership with BerryWorld marks a turning point in the UK’s food supply chain and how the country looks to secure locally grown year-round produce. Our Harlow farm uses artificial intelligence to control all aspects of the growing cycle, including light, water, and CO2, to maximize the plants’ growth potential. Being indoors protects the plants from adverse weather conditions. In addition, it allows us to create an optimal growing environment locally, resulting in a strawberry that tastes not only good but also makes environmental and economic sense,” added Mark Kirby, Chief Commercial Officer at SMARTKAS.
In addition to using cutting-edge technology, the Harlow farm is also powered by renewable energy sources, making it one of the country’s most sustainable food production facilities. Furthermore, its location close to retailers’ distribution centers also helps to minimize the carbon footprint, making it an environmentally responsible choice.
SMARTKAS has a larger goal- creating country-specific solutions to address food security concerns. The partnership with BerryWorld is just the beginning. The two companies are determined to bring their innovative solutions to other parts of the world where food security is a critical issue.
Image provided by SMARTKAS, representing from Left – Mark Kirby, Chief Commercial Officer, SMARTKAS. Right – Paul Avery, Sales Director BerryWorld UK
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