UK-based online supermarket company Ocado has made two investments in the newly emerging vertical farming industry.

Vertical farming involves the production of food in indoor facilities, where crops are grown in a precisely-controlled environment.

As part of the move, Ocado acquired a 58% stake in Jones Food Company (JFC). JFC’s facility is engaged in the production of leafy greens and herbs for its customers in the UK.

With more than 5,000m² of production area and 12km of LED lights, JFC produces consistent crop yields throughout the year and plans to expand crop types and production across the UK.

Ocado CEO Tim Steiner said: “We believe that our investments today in vertical farming will allow us to address fundamental consumer concerns on freshness and sustainability and build on new technologies that will revolutionise the way customers access fresh produce.

“Our hope ultimately is to co-locate vertical farms within or next to our CFCs and Ocado Zoom’s micro fulfilment centres so that we can offer the very freshest and most sustainable products that could be delivered to a customer’s kitchen within an hour of it being picked.”

In another development, Ocado’s ventures arm has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 80 Acres Farms and Priva Holding to create a strategic three-way joint venture (JV) called Infinite Acres.

Each partner will hold a third of Infinite Acres’ equity.

Priva and 80 Acres companies have been working for four years to design turnkey solutions to sell to vertical farming clients across the globe.

Ocado has agreed to make a cash payment to 80 Acres and Priva for their investments and an equity capital contribution to the JV, as well as provide a line of credit.

Together, Ocado’s planned equity investments in JFC and Infinite Acres will total £17m ($21.6m).