Karen Hennessy, CEO of Real Leaf Farm
This grant from the Just Transition Fund recognises Real Leaf Farm’s role in creating a green and sustainable economy for the Midlands.
Real Leaf Farm (RLF) is delighted to be been selected as one of the key projects in the Midlands under the Just Transition Fund (JFT). The JFT awarded projects that represented innovative and inspiring plans for the Midlands and who are committed to creating a green and sustainable economy for the region.
Real Leaf Farm’s mission is to grow fresh, nutritious leafy greens for the local food market using sustainable farming methods that have low environmental impact. The elimination of herbicides and pesticides not only makes RLF a provider of clean, natural, food products but is better for the environmental, leaving no residues behind.
Speaking at the launch, Real Leaf Farm CEO, Karen Hennessy said “RLF is developing a scalable sustainable business - generating income, creating jobs, providing innovative solutions to food production and supporting Midland communities while aligning to the region’s natural strengths in horticulture. The award today of €1 million is a significant endorsement by government of these plans and I would like to sincerely thank the Just Transition Commission and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication”.
Commenting on the grant award, Eddie Kilbane, Founder of Real Leaf Farm said “the development of Sustainable Smart Hydroponic Farming, in Ireland as a whole, will play an important role in social well-being and strengthen self-sufficiency, by diminishing risks connected to the reliance on the global food production system, and long delivery chains; thus creating more resilient communities”.
The first site is planned for the Midlands partnering with Bord na Móna. RLF will repurpose underutilised buildings and to build a new, state of the art, glasshouse thereby reusing and conserving old buildings and bringing jobs back into the peatlands community.
So who are Real Leaf Farm, this new player in the market?
RLF is a new agri-tech company leading the development of sustainable hydroponic farming across Ireland and the UK. It is a pioneering and disruptive business which will be Ireland’s first 100% Hydroponic farm, growing delicious pesticide-free, herbicide-free, salad vegetable produce, 365 days a year. This is smart farming for a sustainable planet in the 21st century.
Through its unique Agri-Tech Solution, RLF has total control over variables like climate and light and uses significantly less land and water compared to conventional outdoor farming. By combining cutting edge technology and design with optimal agriculture methods, RLF is making fresh, nutrient-rich and tasty food accessible locally, throughout the year, whilst minimising wastage, excessive transport and ensuring food security.
There is a unique opportunity to be first to market, in a growing sector, through import substitution and the development of a more efficient and sustainable farming model. This project will deliver direct and indirect employment for transition impacted communities, providing sustainable, safe and secure food for local supply. It is also a Brexit solution provider as most of our imports are currently traveling through the UK land bridge.
About Just Transition Fund
The Just Transition Fund is a key pillar of the government’s just transition plan for the Midlands region. A 2020 fund will be available for projects focusing on retraining workers and proposals to generate sustainable employment in green enterprise in the region, and supporting communities to transition to a low carbon economy.
The objective of the Just Transition Fund 2020 call is to fund innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Wider Midlands region and which have employment and enterprise potential. It will support projects that take a whole-of-Midlands strategic approach and complement other sources of public funding.
Provisional offers of funding, totalling €27.8 million, have been made to 47 projects in the Midlands under the Just Transition Fund. The projects represent innovative and inspiring plans from businesses, local authorities and communities in the Midlands who are committed to creating a green and sustainable economy for the region. This dedication from the community and targeted support will make the region an attractive and sustainable place to live and work. It will fund training and reskilling so local businesses and communities can adjust to a low-carbon transition.
For further information on Real Leaf Farm please visit www.realleaffarm.com