Foresight backs vertical farmer Harvest London

The asset manager has also made investments into British greenhouses and a land-based aquaculture system in Norway, as it builds out its food infrastructure assets.

Foresight Group has made an investment of an undisclosed size into British vertical farming start-up Harvest London.

Harvest London uses a hydroponic growing system and has grown more than 100 different crops, said a statement, across the two facilities it has in operation.

Harvest London and Foresight also announced they have secured a 140,000 square feet facility in south London to expand the company’s operations. The company has partnerships in place with brands including Pizza Pilgrims and Compass Group.

“Expansion of Harvest London’s production capacity, supported by Foresight, is driven by the increasing need for locally grown produce and strong positive feedback from Harvest London’s existing customers. It will allow the grower to expand into key retail markets,” said the statement.

“With concerns growing about the security and sustainability of food systems, new farming methods are needed to reduce the negative environmental impacts of food production, including supply chain emissions, land and water use and soil degradation. The investment in Harvest London follows investments by Foresight in greenhouses in the UK and a land-based sustainable aquaculture farm in Norway,” the statement added.

Foresight declined to provide any details about the size of its stake in Harvest London, its annual food production capacity or where capital was drawn from to make the investment.

The firm also declined to provide any details about its greenhouse investments in the UK or its land-based aquaculture investment in Norway.

Partner Dan Wells told Agri Investor in 2021 that the firm was biding its time before making a debut entry into food and agriculture, with onshore aquaculture systems, greenhouses and vertical farms among its target list.

Wells said these types of food production systems, which are not dependant on good weather conditions for their yield, can use little to no pesticides and have the potential to be powered with renewable energy, “could become infrastructure assets in future.”

“Albeit right now they still have a relatively higher risk profile because it’s still a nascent area but they potentially have a very high contribution to make to the sustainability transition,” Wells said.

Commenting on the Harvest London deal, Foresight partner Matt Hammond said in a statement: “This approach to farming will play a pivotal role in shaping a more sustainable future and meeting the country’s food needs. The next phase of expansion will positively impact job creation and stimulate the local economy.”