Let's Grow It Together.

This is about more than just nutrition. Our food must come from a healthy planet with abundant biodiversity and thriving ecosystems. It should enrich the communities where it is grown and eaten, and help local economies to flourish.

Grow It York is an indoor urban community farm in a shipping container, supplying hyper-local produce to the surrounding businesses and communities. It was built to investigate how vertical farming can play a role in creating positive change within our food systems, benefiting our health, environment and economy.

Because we can control everything within the vertical farm from plant nutrients to lighting, temperature and water, crop yields are very predictable, with short times to harvest, minimal waste, and produce which is highly nutritious. Growing crops all-year-round in cities, closer to consumers, can reduce food miles and the need for chilled supply chains helping lower carbon footprints and improving access to healthy food.

We Believe in Healthy Food

CEO & co-founder of LettUs Grow, Charlie Guy, believes that projects like these are key to maximising the benefits of indoor growing: “It’s exciting to see indoor farming being utilised in this environment because the advantages of growing in such close proximity to consumers are so evidently visible. Whether that’s reducing food miles and food waste, or more holistic benefits such as getting people involved in and excited about growing food locally. Container park communities are a great way to demonstrate the impact of indoor farming on a smaller scale and they really emphasise the potential for this model to be translated across the country at different settings and scales.”

The University of York, through FixOurFood, is researching how hybrid businesses that prioritise social and environmental benefit (not just profit) can be encouraged in the food system. It will explore how these innovative businesses can help tackle the health, environment and economic challenges of how we produce, supply and eat food. This joint university-business community farm is the first of its kind, but there are plans to expand to other locations if the project is a success.

Tom McKenzie Spark:York’s co-founder and Director said: "We’re extremely proud to be working with LettUs Grow and the University of York on this. It represents an exciting step forward for our project, and the first time any form of vertical growing has been trialled in York city centre. We feel this setting is perfect, with such a focus on local and independent food producers at Spark*:York. It’s brilliant to see our chefs already starting to use this amazing produce. The interest from members of the public visiting the venue has already been huge, and we hope we can use the opportunity to shout about the significant environmental benefits that this method of agriculture can bring."

Pop-in to Check It Out

If you would like to visit the vertical farm to see produce growing, and learn more about this technology and how it could benefit our food system, we run monthly tours on the last Thursday of the month at 1 pm and 1.45 pm (tours limited to 10 people at a time). You can book a visit via the contact form here.

We partner with Tour in a Dish, a company that arranges food tours in York. On the ECO FOOD TOUR, you'll explore five different food spots in York and enjoy tasty dishes from local, independent restaurants. You'll also experience York's eco-friendly and inventive food scene, including a chance to taste fresh produce grown at our vertical farm. This sustainable walking tour, led by an informed guide, lets you uncover hidden culinary treasures and discover unique sights in the city. It's an excellent choice for food lovers and those who want to appreciate York's beauty. Tours in a dish arrange groups of four and more. Contact us for more details here.

If you want to taste Grow It York produce, you can pick up a free salad bag from the Spark York’s General Store at Unit 3 on Wednesday mornings from 9.30 - 11 am and Saturdays from 8.30 - 10 am (or until the stock has gone).

LettUs Grow is supplying the vertical farming technology and their Growing Specialist, Billy Rodgers, is also providing on-site growing training. Billy said, “The Grow It York project has a really interesting range of teams involved. The collaboration between work in technology development, project feasibility research and real-world use of vertically farmed produce is important because food sustainability can’t be addressed by any one thing - you need to look at the whole food supply chain. It’s been really great being able to provide growing training for Grow It York. It’s exciting to see how projects like these can make learning about growing food more accessible to those in cities.”