June 5, 2023
Case Study/ Square Mile Farms x Zedify
We recently sat down with Sophie Burton – Marketing and Community Manager at our new partners, Square Mile Farms – to talk all things vertical farming and sustainability.
We wanted to find why they chose to use Zedify’s cargo bike service to help achieve their innovative, green mission.
Hey Sophie – could you tell us what Square Mile Farms do?
We bring vertical, hydroponic farms to urban spaces. We’re primarily serving offices
at the moment, but we’re also in some residential spaces. We install farms and
they look something like these images.
We offer either a Farm Wall or a Farmstand (these are what we’ll be moving around in
the Zedify trikes), which is this unit you can see here.
We install the hardware, or ‘Farm Ware’ if you will, and then we use them to grow food indoors, all year round.
What do you grow and how does this differ to what else is out there?
We grow leafy greens, herbs, lettuces. This includes things we’re all familiar with like parsley, basil and lettuces, but also things that might be new and unusual, like sorrel and thai basil. Our mission really is to reconnect people with food and we’re passionate about putting urban space to good use.
You see living walls a lot now and it’s amazing to see more greenery indoors: they look great and they improve the working environment.
But, we’re taking it one step further and making it productive and interactive, which has all sorts of benefits for the office environment and employee wellbeing. We are also different from other vertical farms you might have read about.
We’re not trying to compete with traditional farming, but instead we’re getting people talking and thinking about their food and where it comes from in a new way.
What’s the overall experience like for your clients?
The experience side is really what we’re all about. So with that mission of reconnecting people with food, pretty much every two weeks, people from the office community will be invited to come along and join a harvest session. This is a chance for them to ‘pick their own’ in the office and take a break from the work day to tend to some plants, of course with the really tangible benefit of taking home the fresh produce. We bag it all up for them and include a QR code that takes them to recipe ideas… Then they take
home the fresh herbs and produce – it doesn’t get much fresher than cutting it and enjoying it the same day!
We look after the systems ourselves. We go in every week to maintain the systems, we top up the water and check on the plants. They’re hydroponic systems, which means that they don’t use soil, and they recirculate water, so they’re really water efficient for that reason. The plants just take in what they need, and then it trickles down ready to recirculate on the next watering cycle.
There is more that we do that deepens the experience. We run events to help people get hands on with plants, and learn how to get them thriving at home. We hand out recipe cards as well as share ideas on how to reduce your food waste in really creative ways. One of our recent pop-ups featured a mini competition centred around food waste facts. We’re using these opportunities to test peoples’ knowledge and get them thinking about big picture things to do with the food system and how it impacts not only the health of the planet, but also their own health.
How long have you been operating, and what drove the business into being?
We built our first office farm at the beginning of 2020 and now we now have around 50 farms across London. A couple of months ago, we expanded outside of London with farms in Birmingham and Sheffield as well. The concept really started from the co-founders, Jonathan and Patrick, looking out across the grey city of London and thinking about how they could make it greener – combined with an interest in nutrition and how people could eat more healthily, Square Mile Farms was born!
Could you sum up your company mission?
Our mission is to reconnect people with food. We do this by bringing food production back into our day-to-day to empower people to lead more sustainable lives.
Check out Square Mile Farms on socials here.
Ready for better deliveries? Book a call with our Partnerships team today!