Netled, a Finland-based manufacturer of vertical farming systems, has formed an EUR10m (US$11.1m) agreement with solutions provider Astwood Infrastructure in the UK.

The two companies will use their individual expertise to supply vertical farming equipment to four farms in the UK to be delivered over the next three years in a long-term deal which could be expanded to serve global customers.

The vertical farming market has been predicted to grow to $10bn annually by 2025, according to a statement announcing the tie-up that did not provide the source of the information.

Based in Prikkala, Finland, Netled provides design and manufacturing services for vertical farming systems, including lighting solutions.

Astwood meanwhile, is focused on sustainable design and engineering for the environmental sector and backs the circular economy concept. It counts Vertivore as its own brand.

Niko Kivioja, the chief executive of Netled, said: “We have been developing our technology for vertical farming for several years. During this time the market for vertical farming has developed very fast. Now the technology and the economic figures are at the point where industrial scale vertical farms beat the traditional ways to grow leafy greens. We are more than happy to present our partner, Astwood Infrastructure. Together we have the possibility to serve the global market with an all-inclusive project offering.”

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By GlobalData

The two companies said a pilot project is underway in The Midlands’ town of Redditch, Worcestershire.

A spokesperson told just-food: “The first sites will most likely be in the UK as this is what we know best with the next site close by our current testing facility in The Midlands. We have kicked off the work on finding and securing all of those sites now. Vertivore will own and manage them all with the assistance from our central support team based out of Redditch.”

Astwood CEO Mike Capewell added: “We are incredibly excited about our new agreement with Netled Oy and the opportunity we now have in building and scaling a UK wide and potentially global vertical farm operation. Our pilot farm has shown some incredibly exciting results and we feel optimistic that we will be able to replicate this success at scale.

“As issues like rising import costs and climate change continue to advance, vertical farming systems will become critical to production, where, through the Vertivore brand, we will be able to grow sustainable, local and clean produce without being impacted by any external sources such as weather conditions or pollution.”