"It's a paradox - everyone wants organically, regional and CO2 neutral vegetables, but the vegetable farms needed for this should not be near their own village," laments Peter Höfler junior, partner of Höfler Gemüse. It is a problem that is prevalent not only for vegetable greenhouses, but for other sustainable concepts such as wind and solar energy as well.
The finished project could look like this
But Höfler still believes in his plan: With his brothers Thomas and Simon Höfler, both shareholders of Höfler Gemüse as well, he wants to build a CO2-neutral greenhouse for organic vegetables on 6 hectares in Langenzenn (district Keidenzell). AKG Agrar Kompost LLC will provide the 10-hectare site and the required heat supply by a planned biomass power plant. (Photo: Peter Höfler with family)
"For the processing of organic waste and green waste (mainly from the district of Fürth) at the AKG composting plant, we need natural woods, which currently have to be transported from as far away as Frankfurt for economic reasons". The area for the greenhouse project is located on the opposite side of the road to the AKG composting and biogas plant (not Nawaro) and this is an ideal connection," says Höfler.
"We could run a circular economy at this location. In the warmer months of the year, when demand in the greenhouse is lower, the energy from the biomass power plant can be used to dry fermentation products from the biogas plant. The water content is to be recovered and reused for irrigating the vegetable crops." The device has a potential of approx. 8.000-10.000m³ per year.
The idea is promising, but it has met with considerable resistance from parts of the population: "Unfortunately, positions have hardened over time. A project of this size certainly has an impact on the landscape, but it is the technology of the future, necessary to meet consumer demands for regionally produced organic fruit vegetables. The excellent synergy effects of both farms can only be optimally used there."
Advocates of the project see an opportunity for the region: "The overall project fulfils many of the demands of recent years from the population and politics for the production of food. The city of Langenzenn and the town of Keidenzell will receive a showcase project that will receive nationwide recognition and is unparalleled". Höfler is still hoping for political support: "At the end of the week, the project will be discussed in a city council meeting. Public interests will be considered as well. For example, our opponents fear that our project would have an impact on the drinking water supply of the village, but according to the local water supplier, this will not be the case".
"We continue to seek a dialogue with the local residents and are always available to answer any questions. We do not want to give up the project. Our vegetable farm, but also the region itself, has the chance to increase its self-sufficiency and not to continue to depend on foreign production to a large extent," Höfler concludes.
AKG Agrar Kompost GmbH
Cadolzburger Str. 3