Source – treehugger.com
– Grocers are in constantly pursuit of ways to connect their customers with the freshest, highest quality produce, but it’s a challenge when veggies have to be harvested at the farm and transported to market.
INFARM is cutting out the middle man by placing vertical micro-farms inside Berlin supermarkets, as a way to deliver the freshest possible produce to hungry customers. The “farming as a service” option is testing out a live herb garden right in the aisles of METRO Cash & Carry and, if consumers like it, we may be seeing the beginning of a new trend in supermarket fare.
The indoor urban farming pioneers launched the in-store micro-farm six months ago, as the start of a year-long pilot program. Currently, the vertical greenhouse grows only herbs and salad greens, but INFARM says the modular micro-farm equipment can be reconfigured to grow other crops, too – including tomatoes, peppers, and other plants that grow well in an aquaponic environment. The Berlin grocery marks “the first in-store farm in Europe,” according to Fabio Ziemssen, METRO’s head of food innovation, and INFARM has its sights on expanding into other supermarket locations once the pilot program ends.
Reducing the need to transport produce means customers can have their greens and herbs with a smaller carbon footprint. The onsite aquaponic farm also uses less water and less energy than traditional methods of farming and, because the produce is harvested moments before it’s purchased, the quality is higher as well. Home cooks are likely to respond positively to this ‘fresher, better’ option, but INFARM’s micro-farms could be sprouting up in Berlin restaurants, too, as professional chefs increase demands for better quality ingredients.
With six months left in the Berlin pilot program, INFARM aims to begin manufacturing other units by the end of this year.
FARMED HERE – Sustainable Indoor Farming
Our mission is to transform the way local and organic produce is grown and distributed, making it accessible to everyone by profitably growing high quality vegetables indoors, year round, packed within hours of harvest.
FarmedHere® is a local, organic, indoor vertical farm — located just south of Chicago in Bedford Park, Illinois. Our produce is grown indoors in our urban farm, away from the bugs, diseases, pesticides, and weather that impact most produce today.
Our vertical growing technology and local distribution methods reduce energy use, travel time and costs tremendously, making this model one of the most sustainable ways to guarantee access to fresh, healthy produce in city centers, in any season. Our farming method uses up to 95% less water, zero harmful chemicals or pesticides, and energy-efficient lighting.
On average a head of lettuce travels 1,200 miles to reach your plate — our greens travel just across Chicago, which is why they’re the freshest. Indoor farming isn’t new, but recent advances in lighting technology and farming methods allow FarmedHere produce to be grown more efficiently than on outdoor farms, while creating local city jobs and making post-industrial buildings alive again.