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urban agricultures

Vegetables in cities

I

ntra-urban forms of agriculture are soaring across the

world. Without claiming to feed the world’s population, 80% of which will be urban by 2050, this is an opportunity, in Europe, to reconnect two worlds.

©Nigel DickiNsoN

Singapore decided to invest in vertical farming structures, as illustrated here with Sky Greens, to develop a certain degree of food self-suiciency Fruit&Veg Technology n°3 - january 2016 7


urban agricultures

©MARie DeHAeNe

The LED technology has facilitated the development of indoor forms of agriculture which superimpose production loors to maximise the yield per m² in conined spaces.

F

or the past few years, urban agriculture projects have been lourishing the world over. Despite the diverse nature of urban agriculture, an international consensus deines it as a form of agriculture located in the city or city outskirts, with products and services essentially intended for the city and with activities likely to compete with (land, water) and complement (labour) urban activities. “While not all forms of suburban agriculture correspond with this deinition, all forms of intra-urban agriculture do”, points out christine Aubry, researcher at iNRA (French National institute for Agricultural Research) and consulting professor with Agroparistech. his form of agriculture is very widespread in southern countries, where the development of infrastructures has failed to match the rapid growth of cities, thereby limiting the arrival of fresh produce in urban centres. it is an emerging trend in Western countries, in response to constraints and societal expectations which vary depending on the world region. “hroughout history, farming

8 Fruit&Veg Technology n°3 - january 2016

in european cities has peaked in times of crisis for subsistence production. community allotments are consistent with this trend”, underlines Marie Dehaene, landscape gardener and consultant in urban agriculture. However, most major european conurbations have been fed based on distant trade, according to Nicolas Bricas from ciRAD (French Agricultural Research centre for international Development). “Up until now, the cities have expressed little concern about how their food is produced. his is a new interest”, indicated the researcher during a “Wednesdays at the French Pavilion” conference at the 2015 Milan universal exposition.

Food safety Project initiators are well aware of the desire of some urban consumers to return to local production and consumption. “Urban dwellers are in search of a raison d’être, and the idea of reconnecting with the image they have of their grandparents’ agriculture is appealing to them”, points out guillaume Fourdinier, founder of Agricool (see p. ). here are also other

advantages, such as the sale of ultra-fresh produce, the provision of varieties which cannot be transported, reducing transport between the production area and the consumption area or the recycling of urban energy, rainwater or organic waste. “hese are pertinent advantages for major, densely populated Asian or American conurbations where even suburban areas are very far from the centres. he desire for fresh produce therefore requires production in urban areas”, indicates christine Aubry. “in the UsA, the residents of certain areas afected by the economic downturn no longer have access to local fresh products”, points out Marie Dehaene. “hese areas are referred to as food deserts. in Detroit for example, there are no supermarkets let near the city, which has been devastated by the economic crisis. he production of fresh fruit and vegetables in brownield areas and abandoned warehouses is a social emergency. here are currently more than 1,600 community farms”. in Asia, for example in singapore and Hong kong, or in the Middle east, the shortage of agricultural land is what


Technologies

drives development. “hese nations are heavily dependent on imports and security of supply is a major concern”, adds the Agroparistech researcher. Hydroponic vertical farming projects originate from these regions”. his is also true of Japan, where food safety concerns caused by radioactivity issues are added to the mix as a result of Fukushima. “his is why this country is one of the leaders in indoor production, where the crop is fully protected against external elements”, adds Marie Dehaene.

Societal acceptance? in europe, intra-urban production does not respond to the same emergency imperatives as in Asia or the UsA. “Major conurbations still have an extensive suburban agricultural fabric which must be preserved”, points out christine Aubry. he major urban projects of the ile-de-France region oten integrate this urban agriculture dimension. he city of Paris anticipates 100ha of green roofs and façades by 2020, one third of which should be dedicated to the production of fruit and vegetables. “in light of the increasing number of projects throughout the world, urban agriculture is not just a fad but a fundamental trend”, announces the researcher. Nevertheless, its development is faced with a number of obstacles. Access to land in the main hurdle. he surface areas available on roofs or in urban interstices are limited for large-scale projects and rents are high. Dickson Despommiers, the father of vertical farming, estimated that the cultivation of all New York roofs would only help feed 2% of Manhattan. Hence the idea of vertical urban farms inside buildings. “However, free urban space is not such a rarity for mobile, container-type pro-

jects. leasing unusable land to install containers is a relatively easy deal to strike with local authorities”, attests guillaume Fourdinier from Agricool. he legislation poses another signiicant, yet evolving constraint. he appearance of urban farmers requires the redeinition of many notions. “he transition to the status of farmer raises the issue of agricultural standards, the implementation of which can kill projects”, comments Marie Dehaene. in terms of urban planning, this is a complex issue; local urban development plans must be modiied. “legislative progress has been achieved in this domain. in Paris, the installation of a rootop greenhouse will now be considered a technical facility” points out christine Aubry. logistically speaking, the construction of greenhouses or the addition of soil on the roofs of old buildings pose problems in terms of building resistance, access and insurance. “societal acceptability, notably in terms of landscape, could also hinder the development of this type of agriculture”, continues the researcher. societal acceptance varies according to the location around the world. “in France where the notion of “terroir” is important, urban production in polluted environments is a more complex issue than in the UsA, where the “local” argument prevails”, the consultant explains. Business model to be invented Despite the enthusiasm of urban planners, investors remain cautious in europe, as the economic viability of these projects remains very uncertain. Not only are most facilities very recent but the projects already underway fail to provide any igures. he business models are generally based on multi-services. Urban agriculture facilities also serve as educational tools, recreational areas or showcases for research

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urban agricultures

vertical urban farms. i wish to develop a inancially afordable concept which agricultural entrepreneurs can commit to”, enthuses eric Dargent.

No competition

US company Sky Vegetables builds hydroponic greenhouses on building rooftops. Their latest 750m² achievement was installed on a residential building in New York.

and design irms or equipment suppliers. “As production costs are higher in the city, the models take advantage of their location in an urban milieu to develop activities which can be more lucrative than production”, conirms eric Dargent, head of the Refarmers start-up company. large-scale hightech or indoor projects, based exclusively on production, have opted to sell their production on niche markets. he produce grown generates high added value, strawberries or aromatic herbs are available throughout the year and sold to upscale supermarkets. “limited space requires signiicant revenue per

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square metre”, explains christine Aubry. he investment needed for these infrastructures is not within everyone’s reach, which is why project initiators are oten large corporations or consortiums. his is true of Japanese projects led by Toshiba or Fujitsu, or the FUl project in lyon (see p. ). For the projects involving limited investment, initiated by associations or young entrepreneurs who see a business opportunity in the enthusiasm for local production, the business model is yet to be invented. “he objective of the Refarmers project is to demonstrate the viability of low-investment but high-tech hydroponic

10 Fruit&Veg Technology n°3 - january 2016

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his is the main issue: very few project initiators hail from the agricultural community. “he local authorities or urban planning irms that initiate these projects are beginning to realise the diiculty involved in inding qualiied personnel capable of managing the crops”, mentions christine Aubry. “he market gardening hub of the interdepartmental chamber of agriculture of the iie-de-France region is launching training courses in urban agriculture, and even provides project initiators with technical support”. he “traditional” agricultural community may have a part to play in this domain. “it would be a pity to leave this type of project to large inancial groups or architects”, asserts Bruno Vila, chairman of the Rougeline group. “in order to use them to communicate with our consumers, producers should adopt this approach to relect another image of agriculture and avoid a clash of models”. Projects like the lufa canadian farm are already bridging gaps between their consumers and the suburban market gardeners who sell their products in baskets provi-

ded by the urban farm. “Urban agriculture does not claim to feed the city; it should be seen instead as the spearhead of the agricultural community in the city”, says eric Dargent. “Despite the productivity of certain urban agriculture systems, it cannot be seen as competing with rural agriculture”, claims the researcher, “irstly because the products grown are limited to leafy or fruit bearing vegetables, aromatic plants and small fruit, and secondly because space is lacking”. “Assuming a production rate of 80t/ ha on all Paris rootops, less than 10% of the needs would be covered”, she goes on to say. However, these forms of agriculture could provide the possibility of implementing technical and social innovations. “he recovery of urban organic waste such as cofee grounds with mycelium, which itself is a residue of oyster mushrooms grown in the city, makes for valuable fertilisers”, emphasises christine Aubry. hese forms of agriculture also use social networks for crowd-funding, and rely on networks of volunteers for selling, available due to sheer community density. “Urban agriculture is inventing systems involving new business models, not solely based on production. his inventiveness could boost traditional agriculture models”, concludes Marie Dehaene. ■

Confection

Filet anti-insectes

Filet brise-vent


Typology of urban projects B

y combining technical engineering, type of production, orientation of the facilities and business models, four types of urban agriculture can be created. certain models are hybrid and can be common to several categories.

gardening 1Urban his covers in-ground or rootop community gardens, initiatives such as les incroyables comestibles (”incredible edibles”), a grassroots movement which appropriates green areas to plant vegetables. hese are in full swing in Western countries. hese projects are not proit-driven; it is about subsistence farming, addressing the urban dwellers’ need to reconnect with their food, and sometimes to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. it requires limited technical investment. Project initiators are individuals or associations.

production 2Low-tech hese are projects that require limited technical investment, oten soil-grown or in containers illed with soil or substrates. hey provide multi-services and project initiators derive revenue from production and sales, educational activities and leasing the premises for leisure activities. Project initiators are associations, local authorities or research & design irms who use the tool to demonstrate their expertise. his is the case with Brooklyn grange in New York or Fermes en ville (Farms in the city) in st cyr l’école.

production 3High-tech his category is characterised by the use of innovative technologies, which partly maintains natural lighting. it covers hydroponic, aquaponic or aeroponic projects. Fertigation is automated and ope-

rates in a closed circuit. he projects concern brownield areas or roofs. hey can be in the open air, in tunnels or greenhouses, with horizontal or vertical crops. Project initiators are businesses. he vast majority of the facilities serve as a demonstrator for businesses intending to sell their production system, while others pursue a purely productive objective, with oten aluent customers. his is the case with Paris sous les fraises (Paris covered in strawberries) on the roof of the galeries lafayette department store, the gotham greens project in gowanus, Brooklyn, located on the roof of an upscale supermarket, or the ecö-jager project in switzerland (see p. 18).

production 4Indoor his involves warehouses or containers. it covers automated hydroponic, aquaponic or aeroponic projects. he use of leDs or other adjustable spectrum energy-saving light bulbs is essential. it involves vertical or horizontal crops over multiple loors and sometimes on cylinders. he temperature, humidity and atmosphere are controlled. he air is iltered. he projects have been developed almost exclusively by businesses, equipment suppliers or research & design irms who use them as demonstrators. his is the case with the Toshiba clean Room Farm in Japan, or the Freight Farm containers in the UsA. ■ his typology is used to classify the examples of the map on p. 12.

Fruit&Veg Technology n°3 - january 2016 11


urban agricultures

Worldwide achievements… I

ntra-urban agriculture projects are lourishing across the world, in emerging nations as well as Western countries. on a

global scale, the surface area covered by intra-urban agriculture has been estimated at 68 million hectares, 24 million of which is

irrigated. his map displays some of the most high-proile projects but this list is not exhaustive. in southern countries, according

Canada

to a global survey, 60% to 90% of the fresh vegetables eaten in cities are produced in the cities' urban interstices or on roofs. ■

United Kingdom

Port Coquitlam, vertical Designs, supplier. Hydroponics

London, Growing Underground, Zero carbon food, producer, 2015 10 000 m² in nuclear shelters, underground heating.

Montréal, Lufa Farm, producer 2 900 m² greenhouses. 2 t of vegetables/day.

Belgium Port Coquitlam

Montréal Chicago Portage Long Beach

USA Chicago, The plant, association, 2010 Hydroponics, aquaponics, 24 000 m², 3 production loors.  Chicago, Farmedhere, supplier, 2013. Aquaponics et aeroponics, 8 400 m². Project : opening 18 indoor farms.  New Bufalo, Green spirit Farms, producer, 2011. Hydroponics, cylindrical systems, 670 m², 96 000 plants.  Portage, Green sense farm, supplier. Hydroponics, 1 400 m².  Newark, Aerofarms, supplier, 2015, Aeroponics, 910 t.  Boston, Freight farms, supplier. Container, hydroponics.

12 Fruit&Veg Technology n°3 - january 2016

Bufalo Boston Newark New York Yardley

Schilde, The Hague, Urban farmers, supplier, 2015. Aquaponics, 1 500m² 45 t of veg/year.

Switzerland Basel, LokDepot, Urban farmers, supplier, 2013 250 m² glass greenhouses, 5 t veg/year.  Bad Ragaz, Ecco-jäger, producer, 2015. Glass greenhouses on roof.

New York, Gothams green supplier. Three projects completed since 2011 including Hollis in 2015 : 5 600 m² hydroponic greenhouses, 340 t/year.  New York, Sky vegetables, supplier. Hydroponics greenhouses.   Chicago, Pullman, Gothams greens supplier, 2015. 7 000 m² greenhouses, 1 million leafy vegetables and herbs.  Long Beach, Leaf&Fin, producer. Aquaponics greenhouses, community sharing.   Yardley, Bright farms supplier, 2013. Hydroponics greenhouses, 5 200 m², young shoot and herbs. Three other projects.

Londres Berlin Schilde Paris

Basel

Bad Ragaz

Germany

Berlin, ECF farmer’s Market, ECF farmsystems, producer and supplier, 2015. 1 800 m² glass greenhouses, 30 t of veg/year.

New York, CityScape farms, Brooklyn grange, producer. Soil on roof, 6 300 m² in Brooklyn +3 900 m² in Queens, 20 t of veg/year.  New York, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, producer. 660 m², direct sales.


Country, city, project name, company name, type of company (producer, association, service or equipment supplier), creation date

High-tech

Use of containers illed with soil, in the open air, irrigation not managed by computer

Japan

France

Shimogyo-ku, Spread Co, supplier,2017 Hydroponics.  Fukui, GreenLand-farm. Hydroponics, 10 000 plants of lettuce/day.  Tagajo (Miyagi), Mirai & Shigeharu Shimamura, 2011 Hydroponics, 2 300 m², 9 m high, 15 loors, 10 000 lettuces/day.  Yokosuka, Toshiba, Toshiba Clean Room Farm Yokosuka, supplier, 2014 Hydroponics, 2 000 m², 3 million leafy vegetables.  Fukushima, Aizu Wakamatsu, Fujitsu, Akisai Farm, supplier.

Paris, Agricool, producer, 2015 Container, stawberries only.  Paris, Upcycle, producer, 2011 Container, mushroom on cofee grounds.

St Cyr-l’Ecole, Les fermes en ville, Le vivant et la ville, association, 2012. In brownield area, producer.  Paris, Topager, supplier. On the roofs of businesses or individuals.  Paris, Sous les fraises, producer, 2015 1 000 m² on 500 m² loor space, in the open air under cover, on green wall, ont the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette.

Low-tech

On soil with drip irrigation, hydroponic or aquaponic production with fertigation managed by computer.

Pékin

Yongin Fukui

Tagajo Fukushima

Yokosuka Shimogyo-ku

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Hong Kong

South Korea Yongin, Insung Tec. Hydroponics.

www.pogo-partners.com. 9532/12/15. Sources photos : Cot international.

Indoor

Hydroponic, aquaponic or aeroponic production with fertigation managed by computer, in closed infrastructures, LED lighting.

Singapour

China

Singapore

Beijing, Jingpeng Plant factory, 2010 Hydroponics, 1 300 m².  Hong Kong, Scatil Aquaponics, 250 kg lettuce/day.

Sky greens, Panasonic, producer Vertical greenhouses, hydroponics, with LED 248 m², 3,6 t of veg/year, essentially leafy vegetables.

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urban agricultures

A greenhouse in the heart of Berlin Germany On the abandoned site of a former malt house, a team of young entrepreneurs designed

an aquaponics system to produce vegetables for the Berliners.

©ecF FARMsYsTeMs

The gamble of Berlinbased company ECF paid of with the 2015 construction of the irst aquaponic urban greenhouse of the German capital in a brownield area.

G

erman start-up company eicient city Farming (ecF) Farmsystems developed an aquaponics greenhouse system before putting it into practice on a brownield site south of Berlin. his is how the ecF Farmers’ market came into being, a 1,800m² building with 1,000m² of greenhouses. “our objective was to design a system with the smallest possible environmental footprint”, explains Nicolas

14 Fruit&Veg Technology n°3 - january 2016

leschke, one of the project’s founders. “With aquaponics, our water footprint is reduced by creating a water cycle from ish to plant using ilters. it also helps save our ishery resources by producing ish. last but not least, producing vegetables for local consumers reduces the carbon footprint”. since March 2015, 31 diferent types of vegetable have been grown in this greenhouse, on substrates or via the ebb and low system.

“he objective is to produce without added pesticides or artiicial lighting”, points out crop manager Robert Dietrich. “We use antagonists against diseases and pests. Fish faeces is used as plant fertiliser, but this is insuicient for produce such as tomatoes, which is why organic fertilisers are added”. he farm’s ambition is to produce 30t of Tilapia ish and 30t of vegetables and herbs every year. “We sell our output in

baskets in our store as well as to restaurateurs”, adds christian echternacht, the other founder. it took €1.6 million to inance the project, which currently provides a living for the two founders and 3 employees. his project is also used as a demonstrator by this company, whose business model is based on the construction of similar infrastructures for other interested parties. his is how they installed a greenhouse on the rootop of a supplier of fresh and frozen products in switzerland (see article opposite). And requests have been pouring in from all over the world, from agri-food producers and urban developers alike. ■ MlC


©FUl sAs - BUTTARAzzi-sTUDio

The FUL SAS Company aims at combining all technologies to design an indoor production system. This system will be tested in the prototype opposite, which is under construction in Lyon.

Turnkey technological solution France The FUL project should get of the ground in January 2016 with a prototype combining technological solutions for the multi-loor production of high value-added crops.

T

he Ferme urbaine lyonnaise (FUl or lyon urban farm) project intends to develop a technological indoor crop production solution. "Backed by a consortium of French companies, our objective is to develop French know-how to beneit the French agricultural sector", attests Philippe Audubert, ceo of FUl sAs. he concept of indoor production inherent in this project covers the technologies that have already been developed in French horticultural greenhouses. "We have brought them together to produce three types of high value-added crops, using ecoeicient engineering", continues christophe lachambre, the project's co-developer. he concept is based on hydroponic production in shallow gutters over multiple loors, illuminated by leDs. he crop substrate conveyor system increases the yield per m² while optimising growing areas through multiloor production. leD lighting and climate control optimise plant growth. he system uses a minimum amount of water thanks to the recycling techniques of nutrient solutions. it has been designed and developed to use as little energy as possible, and includes energy

and gas recycling loops. "We are designing an infrastructure adaptable to many crops. once constructed, it will be modular so that an industrialist can adapt its choice of production to the market. climate, space, lighting and fertigation parameters can be precisely and simultaneously adjusted to ensure the plants selected beneit from the best possible cultivation conditions", adds christophe lachambre. he irst stage of the project will consist of constructing a prototype on the lyon-Villeurbanne science campus from January to 2016. With a 50m² surface area over 3 loors, this is where the inal tests of the multi-loor system will be conducted on lettuce and other plants. By the end of 2016 or early 2017, FUl is hoping to begin the construction of full-scale solutions for its customers. "We have already received requests from major retailers and plant processors. his is a capital-intensive system where productivity as well as the value of the plants produced must be high. "We focus on producing more local, healthier and fresher products, in places where production is impossible", conclude the project's developers. ■ MlC

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urban agricultures

Strawberries in containers

France In contradiction to intensive investment urban projects, two farmers’ sons are getting into the urban agricultural production of strawberries in low-budget units.

"I

16 Fruit&Veg Technology n°3 - january 2016

Vertical hydroponic farming, combined with the use of LEDs, means the Agricool project can produce sensitive varieties of strawberries in ive weeks, in adapted containers.

per 250g punnet, the economic model seems viable, and the target yield is 500g/plant. installed alongside Parc de Bercy since 15 october 2015, the strawberries of the irst Agricool container have proven very popular. More than 1,200 people are on the online waiting list for a punnet. To satisfy their customers, the two partners need to further reine their system. "But our latest harvest gave us a great yield and the taste was more than satisfactory", says guillaume Fourdinier. he strawberry

©AgRicool

ndoor" agricultural production is being introduced in France via containers. "For the past 6 months, we have been developing a vertical strawberry production technique in isolated containers", explains guillaume Fourdinier, one of the two founders of the Agricool start-up company in Paris. "our objective is to provide urban dwellers with healthy, tasty, afordable products, grown within their building". Aware of the diference in quality between the fruit and vegetables available in Paris and those in their countryside of origin, these two young, business school graduate entrepreneurs have developed an inexpensive indoor production prototype. "We cultivate 3,600 strawberry plants in a 12m long container, over a 30m² surface area", continues the entrepreneur. "he irst strawberries ripen ater ive weeks, and bear fruit for 1.5 months. We therefore have 4 cycles per year. We estimate the annual production of a container at 7t of strawberries". With local sales, subject to orders, at €3

plants are grown hydroponically on vertical columns, using drip irrigation. he four vertical walls are lit by leDs, which means only the light spectrum needed by strawberries is used. he temperature, humidity and level of co² are controlled, incoming air is iltered, diseases and pests are managed through biological control and pollination is performed by bumblebees. Fertigation water is recycled and moisture is recovered. hey ultimately anticipate using 25m3 of water per year to produce 7t of strawberries. "We are still in the testing phase and are looking for an agricultural scientist to reine the system. We wish to become self-suicient in terms of ener-

gy, recover rainwater, connect the container to the internet", points out the urban farmer. However, their long-term goal is to disseminate their concept by working with urban farmers under a franchising system. “our prototype is not yet proitable but, if we standardise the concept, it may become so. he idea is to provide containers, an online agricultural service and distribution support to new urban farmers who would sell their strawberries under the Agricool brand and would give us a percentage of their turnover in return”, envisages the former business student. “People come to us every day expressing an interest in acquiring a container". ■ MlC


©THieRRY BecqUeRiAUx

Glass greenhouses on rooftops! Belgium One hectare of greenhouse will soon be built on the roof

of the new packaging building of REO.

T

he Reo Belgian agricultural auction market in Roeselare (Belgium) will install one hectare of experimental glass greenhouses on the roof of a new building, the construction of which has begun, where they are planning to implement hydroponic production. he purpose of this building, adjacent to the auction market where approximately 200,000t of fruit and vegetables change hands every year, is to totally reorganise packaging logistics. For Paul Demyttenaere, the director of the agricultural auction market, this is a great opportunity to be part of the current debate on urban agriculture. Four architectural irms are currently working

on this futuristic project. one of them will be appointed in February, thereby launching the construction of the greenhouse. "one year ago, the director of Beitem's inagro research centre, located next door to the cooperative, came to us. he centre wanted to renew one of its research greenhouses, dating back more than 20 years", recalls the director of the auction market. his is how this "unique project" was developed, having secured the consent of both Boards of Directors in June. "he investment is estimated at €4 to €6 million and will be inanced by Reo, with help from Beitem's inagro centre and the West

Flanders Province", he adds. Works should take around 18 months. "We must project ourselves into the future and participate in current public debates focusing on producer-to-consumer channels and urban agriculture", he claims. he idea of installing crops on the roof of factories has already been tested, notably in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, eindhoven) but also, closer to Reo, in ghent's development park where "greenhouses designed to produce seeds were installed on the roof of an industrial building", recalls Paul Demyttenaere. he project ofers a number of beneits: it promotes above-ground production which requires

Paul Pemyttenaere: "We must project ourselves into the future and participate in current public debates”.

limited loor space, constitutes a formidable opportunity to showcase new development models and, more importantly, is conducive to valuable energy-related innovations by optimising the lows between the greenhouse and the building (use of solar energy). ■ Thierry BeCqueriaux

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urban agricultures

Vegetables and ish on r

Switzerland A Swiss company that supplies fresh vegeta by building greenhouses and ish farming ponds on its roof

F © ecF FARMsYsTeMs

The Eco-jägger Company took advantage of its building's renovation to integrate energy loops with a view to using the heat of cold storage rooms to heat the ish ponds and vegetable greenhouses built on the roof.

18 Fruit&Veg Technology n°3 - january 2016

or the past few months, the swiss town of Bad Ragaz has been host to one of europe's only urban aquaponics facilities purely for business purposes. he ecco-jäger company is the initiator of this project. Phillipp gschwend, the director of this company which provides gastronomy businesses with fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, initiated the construction of a greenhouse and a ish farming unit on the roof of his company. he idea came about as the company faced much-nee-

ded works to insulate the roof and modernise the refrigerating and heating systems. Built by ecF Farmingsystems (see article opposite), the company's refrigeration system heats the greenhouses and the water of aquaculture ponds. he building was designed with a view to economic and energy eiciency and is considered a model in the country. "he new facilities are home to 8 "pink perch" ponds, the annual production of which is estimated at 14.5t", explains eco-jäger's director. "on the upper loor,


rooftops

bles to restaurateurs extended its activity to produce ultra-fresh products. we have 1,000m² of greenhouse where we grow aromatic herbs and lettuce". he company is still testing species to be grown in the greenhouse. he sale of Asian lettuce to regular customers is already a success. "he idea is to produce crops that are expensive to purchase such as lamb's lettuce in winter, mint or basil", points out the entrepreneur. Arranged onto ebb and low tables, herbs and lettuce are grown in plugs pressed into a hemp bed. hey are automatically irrigated with

a nutrient solution based on ish faeces, at regular intervals at a height of 2 to 3mm. innovations are developed "on the job". For example, garden cress is directly sown onto the hemp bed in iFco crates. "We sell cress this way so that customers can have fresh cress for one week", explains Phillipp gschwend. "our customers' needs always come irst". Mlc, source: le Maraicher, written by David eppenberger. ■

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Phillipp Gschwend (on the left) is still experimenting the more proitable productions to be grown in the greenhouse of his company.

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FEUILLES DE CHÊNE ROUGES

Special report de Vegetables in cities  

VFersion en inglés del artículo de la revista num 359 Fruit et Légumes, "les légumes dans les villes". 14 páginas, 2015

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