"We have some of the world's leading agri-tech innovators here in the UK, and I'm a firm believer in the potential of technology to help us grow food more efficiently and sustainably. Fischer Farms are a brilliant example of this - it was fascinating to visit their vertical farm and see this technology in action," said Steve Barclay, Environment Secretary.
Fischer Farms recently welcomed Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to its 25,000m2 farm in Norwich. Alongside Steve were Norfolk County Council Leader Kay Mason Billig, Tom McCabe, CEO of Norfolk County Council, and Chris Starkie, Director of Growth and Investment Norfolk County Council.
DEFRA Secretary Steve Barclay and Tristan Fischer
The team met with Fischer Farms' Founder and CEO, Tristan Fischer, to talk about the agricultural innovation currently taking place in the Norfolk area. This was a fantastic opportunity for Mr. Fischer to share Fischer Farms' approach to revolutionizing the food production process and the role that the vertical farming industry can play in safeguarding food security by creating a more resilient and sustainable supply chain.
"It was a pleasure to welcome Mr. Barclay and his colleagues from Norfolk County Council to our new vertical farm, right here in the heart of Norwich, and discuss the opportunity our industry has to support the agricultural sector as it moves towards a more sustainable and productive future," said Tristan Fischer.
"When people think of Norfolk, beautiful farmland is often among the first images that come to mind, but they may not realize the same county is the original home of innovative, technologically driven new ways of growing and processing those crops. With over 8,000 businesses and almost 80,000 employees in the agriculture, food, and drink sector across Norfolk and Suffolk, our county is one of the leading agri-food locations in the country, and it's been a privilege to help show the Secretary of State just how many lessons the rest of the UK could learn from our businesses here in Norfolk," said Kay Mason Billig, Leader of Norfolk County Council.
The group also enjoyed a tour of the 4-acre site, which can supply 6.5 tonnes of leaf salad, leafy herbs, and other fresh produce to UK supermarkets and other customers every day. During the farm tour, Tristan and the Secretary of State discussed how Fischer Farms and the Government could work together to turbocharge food production in the UK. Crucial to the growth of vertically farmed produce is the need to get greater support for planning applications linked to renewable energy, develop a set of accreditation standards, and preferably introduce regulations to certify its produce as organic.
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