The Mailing Room are delighted to announce our first 1% for the Planet partnership with Farm Urban, an innovative and socially conscious environmental partner who are on a mission to transform our cities, towns, and organisations into greener, healthier, more inclusive places. Our partnership is a three-year commitment to allow Farm Urban to deliver the biggest amount of positive impact to people and the planet across all three of our CSR programme areas: Supporting Communities, Developing People, and Environmental Protection.

Based in Liverpool, Farm Urban use vertical farming techniques such as aquaponics to grow sustainable superfoods (mainly leafy greens) with a hyper-local focus designed to reduce carbon locally and improving long term health outcomes. Vertical farming allows nutrients to be recycled through the growing system and uses 90% less water than arable farming, while also giving land back to nature that unfortunately has been degraded as a result of many years of intensive farming practices. By providing the best growing conditions year-round and combining these with technological advances in lighting, Farm Urban are able to maximise the nutritious value of the greens they produce while also shortening their growth cycle. Where in peak UK conditions a lettuce would take around 63 days to grow from seed to harvestable size, Farm Urban are able to do the same in around 48 days. By replenishing the empty columns in the vertical walls (where the greens grow) after harvesting with seedlings, Farm Urban is able to keep a conveyer belt of harvestable greens throughout the year.

Alongside growing these nutritious, environmentally focussed greens Farm Urban also runs a number of programmes designed to educate, empower, and give back to local communities. They do this primarily through two programmes: ‘Nurture’ and ‘Nourish’. Nurture focusses on educating primary school children on ways to grow food as part of a circular food system (Future Food Heroes), as well as inspiring young people in science and enterprise through a secondary school programme (The Future Food Challenge). Both projects have huge benefits to not only the kids but parents, teachers and communities and fit in with TMR’s belief of developing young people to be the leaders of tomorrow. The ‘Nourish’ programme is Farm Urban’s project to partner with local organisations to donate their produce so that it is
accessible across Liverpool to those who need it most. Again, with our ongoing support of The Greenhouse Project Food Pantry in Liverpool these values matched perfectly with our own and we saw a fantastic opportunity to amplify our impact beyond the environment to positive social value impacts.

Consequently, as part of our partnership with Farm Urban The Mailing Room have agreed to support the delivery of Future Food Heroes to four primary schools each year for the next three years, as well as delivery of the Future Food Challenge to three secondary schools over the same time period. This will mean that across the two projects over 800 young people will have the opportunity to participate, learn and grow. The projects will begin with schools on the waiting list in Liverpool and will then be extended out in Year 2 & 3 to Bury-based schools in our local area.

Alongside support for the educational aspect of Farm Urban’s work, we have also been able to connect their efforts with our supported food pantry in Liverpool, located just 2 miles from Farm Urban HQ. Through our support Farm Urban will now be delivering 1000Kgs of fresh, healthy, sustainable produce per year to those who need it most. This will be delivered each week to the food pantry with engagement on how to utilise the produce best and how the lettuce plugs can also be regrown at home thanks to them being gifted in growing state where leaves can be plucked as and when required. By connecting our CSR partners in this we hope to amplify the positive impact they have on our communities and build a network of organisations giving something back. We also believe that by committing to ongoing relationships it allows our partners to plan their activities and make the most positive impact in their area of focus.

As well as impacting the community Farm Urban are engaging with our staff on a range of sustainability, healthy eating, and social value topics through their Sustainable Steps programme to help spread the positive impact beyond our workplace and into our homes. By installing a living edible wall in our break area staff will be able to pick fresh, leafy greens to enjoy at any time with the wall restocked each week. Excitingly we will be able to watch the leafy greens grow as each tower will house a different growth stage from sapling to fully grown vegetable. Our staff engagement events have begun already and with more on the way we will be sharing updates on these on our website.

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