A grocery store in Belgium sells fresh product only hours after it was harvested. How is this possible? It's because the grocery store grows them on their rooftop! This urban garden on the store's rooftop is a 360 square meter plot of beautiful tomatoes, lettuces and strawberries. After harvest, it's in grocery shelves in an hour. This very short supply chain allows for minimal packaging since it's not stored in other locations before reaching consumers. By having real, live plants above, nature can take care of keeping them fresh until they are purchased for consumption. These are also available all year round, so a steady supply is secured.
Although this is only a fraction of the produce available, it's a great way to show that it is possible to supply food in a different way. It definitely helps reduce overall food/storage/packaging waste. It's wonderful to see companies taking part in reducing waste. Would this be something interesting for your community?
In the UK, another grocery store has partnered with Food from the Sky. http://foodfromthesky.org.uk/ Food from the Sky is a community of Permaculture enthusiasts that are passionate growing food to sell in the supermarket below. Together, the provide learning and educational opportunities for the community. Together with the comm unity (both adults and children alike), they grow vegetables, fruit, herbs, and mushrooms. These fresh produce is then sold in the store 20 meters below. Their Seed2Seed program teaches members of the community about soil/sun/water, sustainability, planting, preserving nature, bees and pollinators, how to use garden tools.
Wonderful reviews flood Food from the sky such as:
“I am inspired by the project ‘Food from the Sky’ because it is urban food growing without pesticides (‘alternative’ culture) combined with an existing supermarket (the ‘mainstream’). I can hardly believe that I am so lucky, to have this beautiful vegetable garden on the roof of my local supermarket, to be able to learn about growing crops up there, to care for them, and to harvest them and then bring them down for sale in the supermarket! I’m already involved in it as a market gardener, composter and fence builder and also involved in welcoming new volunteers to the project and helping them settle in.
Mary Hogan – Fund raiser and volunteer