Produce that is cultivated by the supermarket will be fresher and less expensive.
This summer in Belgium, visitors to the Delhaize supermarket chain in Ixelles will receive produce that’s about as fresh as it gets. This is because the food market has plans to begin selling vegetables that are grown in a garden and greenhouse on top of its building.
The Brussel Times reports that 320 square meters (3,444 square feet) will be devoted to growing produce. Half will be used for a greenhouse and half to cultivate vegetables in the open air. When the seasons change and it becomes too cool or rainy to grow crops outdoors, the greenhouse will allow the store to continue growing produce indoors. Most notably, vegetables cultivated in the rooftop garden will be fresher and less expensive than organic options. The produce might be nutrient-dense and high-quality, but it cannot technically be labeled “organic” as it is “not cultivated directly in natural soil but on a rooftop,” says the supermarket.
The Delhaize supermarket hopes local schools and the community take advantage of the rooftop garden and become educated on the benefits of growing locally through visits and participation.
Commented Brussels Minister for the Environment, Céline Fremault:
“Developing healthy, quality vegetables, based upon short cycles, is one of the challenges for the Brussels region…If everyone embraces the idea, as Delhaize has done, we will attain our target of 30 percent of fruit and vegetable production through urban agriculture, way before 2035, as is currently planned.”
“If everyone embraces the idea, as Delhaize has done, we will attain our target of 30% of fruit and vegetable production through urban agriculture, way before 2035, as is currently planned,” she added.
As of yet, the Delhaize supermarket is unsure of how much food can be grown. However, it is eager to become the “first food store in Belgium” to undertake such an initiative and seeks to inspire other supermarkets in the process.
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