Worldwide LocalSalads is a new vertical farming company, currently raising funds to build their first fully commercial warehouse farm. The company was started by Matthew Dunling, who is the 5th generation grower of his family and son of Grahame Dunling. He has a passion to follow in his father’s footsteps and is powered by the knowledge that he has been taught by a pioneer in the industry.
Building his own view
Matthew has been working quietly behind the scenes as he builds what he calls a game changing view on how vertical farming should be operating. "For the past few years I have been watching how vertical farms are being set up and operated and I still believe that so far from a truly commercial perspective they are a long way from being what experienced growers would call a commercial farm." Matthew’s view stems from his family's long involvement in commercial horticulture and growing up surrounded by commercial glasshouses in Yorkshire in the 1990s.
"I think when we are talking about sustainability, we have to realise that there are three elements to sustainability – social, environmental and economical. Each of these has to have a positive impact and be profitable to allow the business to survive on its own and not on needing a constant stream of investment to allow it to survive."
Project and business model
What is looking like an exceptional project and business model with huge scale for growth and expansion is an exciting venture for someone who has so much family history in the industry.
"This farm will consist of a minimum of 2000 square meters, containing a fully automated system where we can produce quality produce which will bring the flavour back to salads. We have the most advanced technology allowing us to track, trace and control every element in our warehouses from any location in the world. We can do this by using our custom computer system which has all the control parameters integrated on-board to realize the required conditions from climate, CO2, irrigation to lights and nutrition.
"This feedback will be presented in data and graphical overviews allowing us to make decisions according to the required circumstances, and then via dashboards the required settings can be made. So, a unit in the UAE can be controlled from the UK and every measurement unit changed remotely. Our track and trace system will also allow me to see daily sowings, harvest and sales from anywhere in the world, therefore allowing us to anticipate and measure every detail from seed to harvest. With all this data we can guarantee the perfect crop for every punnet.
"The exciting part of this technology is that it is constantly learning and adapting based on crop requirements and growing results in combination with our domain knowledge and AI. Our product line to start with will be a combination of baby leaf salads and triple head lettuce, we will then introduce other crops which we have run successful trials on. We can produce the same quality and quantity daily and this ensures a 365-day supply chain allowing the consumer to have confidence in our brand."
Partnering with other companies
Matthew has partnered LocalSalads with some of the largest horticultural leaders from commercial growing on large scale projects around the world. "We have joined together some of the best companies in the world of horticulture, each with decades of experience, to create a bespoke commercial grow system that is unique to the industry. The ability to fully understand the ins and outs of growing and supplying an exceptional standard of crop to supermarkets while reducing our impact on the environment is the most important factor to me."
Worldwide LocalSalads are currently seeking investment to establish a commercial warehouse and to begin their expansion phase.
For more information:
Matthew Dunling, CEO