A conversation with Kate Hofman of Grow Up Urban Farms

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Oh my – this is an oldie – but still such a useful chat – taken from a course run by Bristol Fish Project in 2016 – Kate Hofman, founder of GrowUp Urban Farms talks about how GrowUp was able to secure funding for the Grow Up Box and for their Commercial farm Unit 84.

Raising the funding for an aquaponics project, regardless of the size, is hard work and takes time. But it can pay off if it means you can start your project! In this episode (recorded in 2016) Kate Hofman of GrowUp Urban Farms shares her experiences for applying for different kinds of funding and how to maximise your chances of success – from writing proposals to how to run a successful crowd-funding campaign.

Kate is the co-founder of GrowUp Urban Farms. GrowUp Urban Farms produces sustainable fresh fish, salads and herbs in cities using a combination of aquaponic and vertical growing technologies, creating employment for local young people who have dropped out of formal education in inner city areas and helping cities improve on their food security.

“By using vertical growing techniques we increase the density at which we can grow crops, thereby maximising our yield per square meter, a necessity in city centres where the price of land is at a premium. Our farms are designed for growing local and sustainable food in cities. We grow for both retail and wholesale customers”.

Founded at the start of 2013 by Kate Hofman and Tom Webster, GrowUp aims to become the market leader in commercial aquaponic urban farming in the UK. In 2013 GrowUp built their prototype farm, the GrowUp Box, a converted shipping container with a greenhouse on top. They built the Box after running a successful crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter, raising over £16,500 from more than 300 supporters. In 2014 they were awarded one of the first Agri-Tech Catalyst grants by the Technology Strategy Board to build London’s first commercial-scale urban farm.