James Lloyd-Jones envies his foreign rivals. The founder of Jones Food Company, which cultivates fresh herbs and salad leaves using a cutting-edge indoor growing system, has built Europe’s biggest “vertical farm” in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. But he fears that a lack of investment will leave him trailing.
Lloyd-Jones has had to “bootstrap” the business with his own funds as risk-averse British investors are reluctant to back his innovative model, which uses LEDs rather than daylight to grow plants on stacked shelves, requiring minimal soil and water. His warehouse covers an area the size of 26 tennis courts and he has a workforce of 17, which should grow to 70 next year.
While he has struggled to find backing, American peers Plenty and Bowery each raised $140m