"At Simply Grow, we use 3D printing technology to create our hydroponic systems, which allows us to create necessary parts and recycle them at a 100% rate, prioritizing sustainability and innovation," says Sylwia Golebiowska, CEO and co-founder of Simply Grow, a vertical farming company based in Bristol, UK.
Co-founders Sylwia Golebiowska and Max Warkoczynski
Simply Grow produces organically grown microgreens in a hydroponic system, significantly lowering the risk of contamination by soil-borne pathogens or heavy metals. The agtech company grows a wide assortment of microgreens, including basil, cilantro, pea shoots, broccoli, mustard, chia, and many others. Since relocating to its new facility, Simply Grow has expanded to also sell mushrooms are grown on-site, as well as freshly pressed juices and microgreen pasta, the last of which is made using microgreen powder and is available in a variety of shapes. The company also sells home-growing kits, gift boxes, and organic seeds.
"We are committed to providing high-quality, fresh, and nutritious products to our customers while prioritizing sustainability and innovation," says Sylwia. "Our business model is primarily B2B, but we also offer products and services to individual consumers through our website."
Sales at the local market
Franchise plan under development
With its recent move to a 400-square-meter warehouse, Simply Grow is not planning to build new farms in 2023 but has instead begun developing a franchise scheme whereby interested individuals and organizations could set up their own farms under the Simply Grow name.
Franchisees would benefit from Simply Grow's expertise and support during the farms' development and operation and would also have access to Simply Grow's proprietary hydroponic system. Further, franchisees would have access to Simply Grow's network of organic seeds and materials, marketing, and branding.
"We believe that this franchise scheme will allow us to expand our reach and impact while also providing opportunities for individuals and organizations to start their own sustainable and profitable businesses," says Sylwia.
Potential for vertical farming in the UK
As Sylwia explains, the potential for vertical farming in the UK is significant due to the country's reliance on imported food (roughly 40% of its food) and its lack of arable land to meet the country's dietary needs. Further, vertical farming can help the UK tackle the environmental challenges posed by traditional agriculture, such as soil degradation, water scarcity, and greenhouse gas emission.
"The potential of vertical farming in the UK is significant, and it has the potential to play a key role in ensuring the country's food security, improving environmental sustainability, and promoting healthier eating habits," explains Sylwia.
Vertical farming comes with its own challenges, such as high energy costs, which Simply Grow addresses by exploring new technologies and methods to increase efficiency and minimize waste. Tackling the operating costs of the farm head-on allows Simply Grow to provide its high-quality microgreens, juices, pasta, and mushrooms at a competitive.
While the potential for vertical farming in the UK is nationwide, Simply Grow will continue to focus its efforts on Bristol and the surrounding area for the time being.
"We believe that Bristol is a vibrant and growing city with a strong focus on sustainability and healthy living, making it an ideal market for our products," says Sylwia.
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Sylwia Golebiowska, CEO