From Crate to Plate

Lendlease takes farming to a whole new level

Small scale vertical farming has firmly taken root within the UK retail sector with the announcement from property group Lendlease that urban farming business, Crate to Plate, has joined London retail destination Elephant Park for its second location, where it will produce fresh produce year round for restaurants, businesses, and residents within its immediate vicinity.

By harnessing hydroponic technology and eco-friendly innovation, Crate to Plate grows produce in purpose-built, sustainable containers, which allow fully controlled the farming conditions. This form of vertical farming means vegetables can be grown locally in urban environments, all year round, using minimal water, allowing produce to be delivered to consumers within 24 hours of harvest, with zero carbon footprint in transporting from farm to customer.

Sebastien Sainsbury, founder of Crate to Plate, explains that the technology used makes the containers a perfect environment for growing a range of lettuces, leafy greens, herbs and micro greens. “These are famous for being amongst the most perishable foods, and therefore benefit from Crate to Plate’s ability to deliver within 24 hours of harvest to people and businesses within half a mile of where it’s grown, something supermarkets can’t compete with,” he says.

The produce Crate to Plate generates is, he says, as fresh as possible, has the highest possible nutrient value, and is completely free of pesticides and toxic chemicals. The urban farming business plans to deliver produce only to local residents and businesses, within a half mile radius of its Elephant Park site.

The Crate to Plate containers are part of Lendlease’s and Southwark Council’s Elephant Park regeneration in Elephant & Castle, just off the Walworth Road and overlooking the Deacon Street wildflower meadow.

“The two containers cover just under 650 sq ft, and are each capable of producing over five tonnes of produce each year,” tells Guy Thomas, head of place assets at Lendlease. “There’s also an on-site click and collect farm shop and educational workshop launching soon.”

Thomas says that Lendlease has intentions to extend this process across other sites, with plans already plans in place for Crate to Plate to become part of International Quarter London (IQL), the 22-acre neighbourhood in Stratford, east London, with ongoing discussions elsewhere.

“Lendlease is committed to generating opportunities for businesses that match its sustainability aims – especially those that combine environmental, social, and economic principles – and will always consider how to incorporate these into new and existing schemes,” says Thomas.

Sainsbury adds that Crate to Plate is excited to be expanding into its second location: “We are strongly committed to supplying residents of Elephant Park and the wider Southwark community with the freshest and highest quality, non-GMO food possible. We are proud to partner with Lendlease and look forward to helping them achieve a more sustainable living culture and further sense of community across their developments.”

This was first published in Retail Destination Fortnightly. Click here to subscribe.

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