An agri-tech firm has raised £131m during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of a plan to grow the largest urban vertical farming network in the world.
The fresh capital infusion brings urban farming firm Infarm's total funding to date to more than $300 million (£231m).
The German company, founded in 2013, says it underscores consumer appetite for a new approach to sustainable and local food production in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
By 2025, its farming network is expected to reach more than 5,000,000 square feet to become the largest distributed farming network in the world.
Now Infarm has unveiled a fresh $170m (£131m) investment raised in the first close of a Series C funding round, expected to reach over $200m (£154m).
The first round included participation by investors Hanaco, Bonnier, Haniel, and Latitude and was supported by existing Infarm investors Atomico, TriplePoint Capital, Mons Capital and Astanor Ventures.
According to Infarm, the investment will be used to deepen the regional penetration of its global farming network and complete development of its new generation of vertical cloud-connected farms.
The farms are capable of generating the crop-equivalent of acres of farmland, the agri-tech firm says.
It adds that because of the integration of advanced engineering, the farms will save labour, land, water, energy, and food-miles.
Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm said: “The coronavirus pandemic has put a global spotlight on the urgent agricultural and ecological challenges of our time.
"As we scale to 5,000,000 sq ft in farming facilities across Europe, North American and Asia by 2025, this investment will help us make a truly global impact through our network."
Infarm currently operates across 10 countries and 30 cities worldwide.
In the past 12 months, it has formed new partnerships with large retailers such as Aldi, Mark's and Spencer and Selfridges.