‘On the shelf within the hour’

Belgium: Delhaize tries out growing produce on own roof

A supermarket in Belgium’s capital is selling produce grown on its own roof only hours after being harvested. Delhaize, a Belgian supermarket chain -part of Ahold Delhaize - said it launched the "Urban Farm" project to satisfy the growing number of consumers who are concerned about where their food is sourced. "The products are harvested in the morning, at 8 o'clock, and an hour later they're in the store," said store employee Marie Delvaulx.

The garden on the 360-square-metre roof also generates its energy sustainably with solar panels and by recuperating heat from the store building. The farm, which produced tomatoes, lettuces and strawberries, operates year-round and can withstand the winter months thanks to a greenhouse.

Creating a farm on a roof in a city comes with its own challenges. The produce can easily be destroyed because the farm lacks biodiversity to mitigate the damage from insects, and there also is the question of the weight constraints.

Esmmagazine.com reported that while the farm, the first of its kind in Delhaize stores, currently only produces a fraction of the supply needs, it will serve as a test for expanding the programme to other stores.

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