Posted on

48 hours in Bordeaux

48 hours in Bordeaux © Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

The micro-events were very diverse, with attendees invited to notably visit an endive cultivation inside an old German blockhouse. /// © Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

 

On the last weekend of April, Bordeaux put on its finest clothes to celebrate 48 hours of urban agriculture (48h de l’agriculture urbaine). 

It must seem strange to read this news when France is still under lockdown, yet the event was quite legal, with 2,000 citizens allowed to discover agriculture in its many forms. “The event, which we have been planning since November 2020, was able to continue because we divided it into 60 micro-events scattered throughout the city, and a lot of them were outdoors,” said Marie-Agathe Widlöcher, one of the organisators. It was also necessary to meet strict sanitary conditions, which meant that almost every event received no more than six people, including the facilitator, with reservations made beforehand and mask-wearing was mandatory. 

It was the event’s third edition in Bordeaux after a two-year gap. Marie-Agathe Widlöcher explained that they had been planning to “do it differently from previous years, long before the second and third waves of the pandemic. For example, several associations of shared gardens, farms or agri-food professionals were contacted to make direct visits to their workplaces.”

Salomon Mouawad of the association Les incroyables comestibles said: “The goal is to reconnect people to nature just as they connect to their WiFi by raising awareness of the soil and its properties.” That’s why his association opened its doors to the shared garden it had been taking care of to show it off to city-dwellers for a weekend. 

Marie-Agathe Widlöcher was also pleased to receive the support of the Chamber of Urban Agriculture, Agrobio Gironde and La Ruche qui dit Oui !, which connect them with various players in the food chain.

Farmers turn out for the rendezvous

“Our goal is to connect farmers and citizens, so the latter can gain a better understanding of the food cycle right down to when it arrives on their plates. The cycle from production to purchasing might involve the MIN* of Bordeaux or a solidarity grocery store in the neighbourhood,” said Widlöcher. The events were very diverse, with attendees invited to visit La ferme de Pauline in Lormont, Le jardin de Quentin in Eysines (a traditional farm), or an endive cultivation inside an old German blockhouse. “Farmers were very interested in the event because they want citizens to have a better understanding of their work. We would have liked to have had more farmers contributing to the event, but it is a big time for them and not everyone was able to attend. As they were micro-events of half an hour or an hour, this facilitated their participation. And we are already very grateful to all those who were able to take part,” said Widlöcher. 

Multi-scale support

48 hours of urban agriculture is a national-scale event that is organised differently depending on the city. La SAUGE operates coordinates the various events up and down the country from its headquarters in Paris to ensure global communication on the internet and social networks. The organisers of this festival hope the event will spread to the international sphere, with editions in Spain or Belgium, as several groups in each country have expressed an interest in participating. 

 

*wholesale market for perishable food and horticultural products
Posted on

Infarm expands in UK with Whole Foods deal

Infarm expands in UK with Whole Foods deal © Infarm
© Infarm

 

Berlin-based urban farming specialist Infarm has added Whole Foods Market UK to its growing list of customers. Infarm, which claims to be the world’s fastest-growing urban farming network, continues its UK expansion with the installation of its modular vertical farming units in two Whole Foods stores in London (High Street Kensington and Fulham), allowing shoppers to purchase fresh produce grown in store. Infarm produce will also appear in Whole Foods Market London stores at Piccadilly Circus, Stoke Newington, Richmond, Clapham Junction and Camden at the end of October and during November. These stores will be supplied with produce from a local Infarm growing centre in Tottenham, the company said, providing flexible supply as and when required.

The Infarm range will include herbs such as coriander, parsley, basil, mint, dill and Thai basil, and a range of different fresh lettuce varieties. The first harvest from Whole Foods Market Kensington is scheduled for 19 November.

A spokesperson for Infarm said, “The partnership between Infarm and Whole Foods Market aims to satisfy increasing consumer demand for sustainably grown products with a smaller environmental footprint, helping customers to both make healthy choices and reduce their food waste.” 

Infarm recently raised US$170m in series C funding to continue its expansion in the UK, US, Canada, France and Germany, and is expected to enter Japan soon.

Daniel Kats, vice-president of corporate sales at Infarm, said: “Whole Foods Market felt like a perfect fit for Infarm. Its commitment to providing customers with vibrant, sustainable food aligns with our goal of growing produce locally and, in the process, substantially reducing food waste and the environmental impact of what we consume. We hope that in installing our modular farms in Kensington and Fulham, we can help to educate shoppers about the future of food.”

Posted on

Singapore launches urban agriculture projects to expand local food supply

Singapore launches urban agriculture projects to expand local food supply

 

In the face of severe disruption to the global supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are already reassessing their dependency on imports to feed their populations. Singapore, imports over 90% of the food consumed by its 5.6 million residents, with Malaysia supplying 39% of the total. The country’s government has announced new measures to accelerate local food production, including the establishment of urban gardens on roofs and terraces, according to Reuters. 

The government spokesperson said, “The current COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of local food production, as part of Singapore’s strategies to ensure food security. Local food production mitigates our dependence on imports and provides a buffer in the event of interruptions in the food supply.”

One issue that Singapore must overcome is its land shortage. Only 1% of the country’s 724 square kilometres is dedicated to agriculture. As such, the Singapore Food Agency is identifying suitable locations such as industrial areas. At the same time, it has launched a tender for rooftop gardens in public housing parking lots for urban agriculture.

Photo: https://www.straitstimes.com/

Posted on

Paris to get world’s largest rooftop farm

Paris to get world’s largest rooftop farm, credit: Agripolis
© Agripolis

 

Paris is to set up an urban farm on its perimeter to supply residents with one ton of food per day. As weforum.org reports, the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, which is currently under renovation, is set to become the location of the world’s largest urban rooftop farm as of next year. Covering an area of 14,000 m², it will be planted with around 30 different species, grown in columns without soil and fed with nutrient-rich solutions and rainwater. This aeroponic method requires little water consumption and allows large numbers of plants to be grown in a small area.

Visitors will be able to purchase produce, which will also be available for tasting in the rooftop restaurant. The farm will host educational tours and citizens will be able to rent spaces to grow their own crops.

Agripolis, the company behind the farm, already runs other rooftop farms around France. Speaking to The Guardian, founder, Pascal Hardy, said, “Our vision is a city in which flat roofs and abandoned surfaces are covered with these new growing systems. Each will contribute directly to feeding urban residents who today represent the bulk of the world’s population.”

Posted on

Urban vertical farming facility to be built in Australia

Urban vertical farming facility to be built in Australia, Credit: Valcenteu, Wikipedia
Credit: Valcenteu, Wikipedia

 

 

Fresh produce grower Freshero and agtech company RotoGro have teamed up to construct a fully automated urban vertical farming facility in Australia, according to a press release by RotoGro. Construction of the flagship facility should be complete by the second quarter of 2020. Freshero will contribute its experience as a grower of fresh organic produce and distributor to Australia, South-East Asia and the Middle East, while RotoGro specialises in rotational hydroponic garden systems and crop management and fertigation technology.

The fully automated urban vertical farming facility will produce fresh organic fruits and vegetables on a commercial scale. Once complete, the partners plan to expand the project across Australia, South-East Asia, the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Posted on

Europe’s largest rooftop farm planned for the Netherlands

Europe’s biggest commercial urban farm will soon be located in this building in The Hague, in South Holland. Vegetables will be grown in a 1,200 sqm greenhouse to be placed on the roof of what is known as the De Schelde building, a former Philips factory now partially empty. Its conversion into a multi-storey urban farming centre – to be called Urban Farming De Schilde – will involve a €2.6 million investment, according to the Municipality of The Hague, which aims to become a climate-neutral city by 2040

 

Europe’s biggest commercial urban farm will soon be located in this building in The Hague, in South Holland.

Vegetables will be grown in a 1,200 sqm greenhouse to be placed on the roof of what is known as the De Schelde building, a former Philips factory now partially empty.

Its conversion into a multi-storey urban farming centre – to be called Urban Farming De Schilde – will involve a €2.6 million investment, according to the Municipality of The Hague, which aims to become a climate-neutral city by 2040 and says it is offering an attractive rental price to the urban farming tenants.

 

Indoor fish farm, boutique brewery

Two of the building’s storeys, each measuring 1,500 sqm, have been earmarked for urban farming. An indoor fish farm and boutique brewery are also included in the redevelopment plans.

City farming pioneer UrbanFarmers (UF) AG, a Swiss company, has been awarded the rooftop space of 1,500 sqm and 700 sqm on the 6th floor.

According to UF, the building has great access and visibility from both the city center as well as the neighboring Westland, “the Dutch horticultural cluster and ‘Silicon Valley’ for plant growing and green innovation.”

“The concept is further supported by a  digital billboard wrapped around the rooftop farm communicating live status updates around UF and also other information pertinent to what’s going on inside the greenhouse,” it said.

 

Koppert Biological Systems also involved

UF said it is focused on building cost effective, sustainable and reliable urban agriculture systems. De Schilde is its fourth after similar projects in Basel, Zurich and Berlin.

Koppert Biological Systems is to share its expertise with UF for the new project. “The cooperation with Urban Farmers will not only focus on natural enemies, beneficial microorganisms and biostimulants, as we, in our role as a horticultural supplier, will also work on the production of insects as fish feed,” said Maren Schoormans, Koppert’s sales manager for the Netherlands.

“We will be able to show society and consumers the opportunities our integrated system offers to everyone who wishes to improve the health, resilience and productivity of crops,” he said.