Vertical farming company GrowUp is kicking off a recruitment drive after celebrating the topping out of its newest farm in Kent.
The company will be hosting a recruitment day on 16 July to teach local residents more about vertical farming and the skilled jobs available at the farm.
The first wave of recruitment, about 10 jobs, is underway now and there will be a total of 60 jobs once the farm is complete.
“We are a triple bottom line business; our people and our impact matter as much as our financials and our people are our business, so this is very exciting,” said Kate Hofman, co-founder of GrowUp. “We are investing over £10m a year into the local economy through this farm and we know that lots of people haven’t heard of vertical farming before.”
The skilled farm operative roles will start in October 2022 and are suitable for people with a background in horticulture or food manufacture, with full training and development support offered to all successful candidates.
GrowUp is an accredited living wage employer and all roles come with an extensive benefits package, including enhanced parental leave, an employee share scheme, an employee benefits platform and a 5% employer pension contribution.
“We have a job to do and there is a cost of living crisis which means people are watching what they spend on food,” said Hofman. “There are crops that we already can’t grow conventionally in the UK where we are reliant on imports and as those supply chains become more volatile, UK food is more important than ever.
“We started GrowUp because we have always been passionate about growing better food for everyone and we can work with our customers to address supply chain challenges, and apply our business model to grow great quality and affordable produce in the UK,” she added.
Hofman claimed the salads grown on site would last longer due growing conditions, not using chlorine in packaging and shorter transportation to supermarket shelves. She argued in the current crisis this will be even more important to limit waste and save shoppers money.
The recruitment drive comes following a topping out ceremony at the site last week, which marked the handover of the building to complete the internal fit-out of the farm. In the next stage the farm will be equipped with the technology needed for GrowUp to grow salad leaves in a controlled environment.
Construction of the farm began in early January on a brownfield site and the farm, with production capacity equivalent to 1,000 acres, expects to begin delivering its first harvest of salad leaves to UK supermarkets early next year.
The farm is connected to on-site renewable energy reducing its environmental footprint and creating a more resilient supply chain.
Its opening marked “part of the evolution of a really great British farming tradition”, said Hofman. “We are all working towards building a more sustainable food system in the UK.”