Regular fairgoers will undoubtedly have noticed it already: the BelOrta Greenhouse. This greenhouse/food truck hybrid is increasingly appearing at trade shows and is regularly parked at Belgian tourist attractions. "We want to tell people the story of local cultivation and how much knowledge, passion, and expertise that involves," says BelOrta's Glenn Sebregts.
The Greenhouse has been in use since last summer. "Local food is enjoying a greater role in society, certainly during the pandemic. We have two campaigns - 'Verbazend Plezant' (Surprisingly Pleasant) and 'Heerlijk van hier' (Deliciously Local). We use these in the Greenhouse to highlight local produce. We work with the shortest possible product delivery cycle. And we use recipes to inspire consumers to use these local goods in new, surprising ways. Think vegetable wraps or grilled vegetables like eggplant and zucchini."
Designing this food truck took some doing, though. "It's not easy to combine a greenhouse and a food truck. Because of the heat and plants, the two don't always go together. Aesthetically, though, it's a true crowd-pleaser, with the plants that keep growing. The actual cultivation, however, takes too much time and effort. You could do it, but it's more about the message. It allows us to tell people the story about local farming, BelOrta, and the growers we support," Glenn continues.
The Greenhouse will be found all over Flanders this summer too. "Along with the (trade) shows, we often stand at tourist attractions. We've been to the coast, the Grote Markt in Ypres, and the Citadel of Namur. We'll definitely be doing that again this year."
There are no expansion plans yet. "The Greenhouse is great but costly. We remain a grower's organization and don't have a huge budget. Nonetheless, there's certainly plenty of demand for it. It can also be rented, for example. So, if the budget allows, expansion isn't out of the question," Glenn concludes.