A supermarket in Brooklyn, New York, has announced a revolutionary new concept – growing greens on site. The Whole Foods Market in Gowanus, Brooklyn has publicised plans to be the first commercial scale supermarket to have an integrated farm appended to the site.
The concept will be developed in conjunction with Gotham Greens, a New York City based company dedicated to growing high quality vegetables and herbs in an urban environment, using eco-friendly greenhouses and renewable energy.
A 20,000 square foot greenhouse is currently being constructed on the roof of the Whole Foods Market, with a launch date pencilled in for this autumn.
The greenhouse will include advanced irrigation techniques which should cut water consumption by 20 times, combined with advanced glazing and electrical engineering, designed to reduce energy consumption. The fact that transportation costs are eliminated means that prices should be competitive and carbon emissions significantly reduced.
It is hoped that the project will kick-start a whole new generation of so-called “green collar” jobs in the city, with educational opportunities likely to be made available to local schools and universities.
The movement towards “close to source” consumption is rapidly gathering pace in several cities across the US and in Europe. In Chicago, Illinois, the FarmedHere project is producing organic vegetables in an old disused warehouse. In Manchester, abandoned factories are being converted into an indoor farm and forest with the help of lottery funding.
In the light of recent food scandals, consumers are becoming more conscious about where their food is coming from, and how it is produced. Responsible farming projects will help bring the consumer closer to the people who are producing their food. Gotham Greens co-founder Viraj Puri believes this approach is becoming increasingly important;
“We’re thrilled with this partnership and to be part of the growing national movement of farmers and food producers committed to providing customers with high quality, responsibly produced food.”
This “close to source” approach can only be applauded, and it begs the question – why has nobody done this before? Whatever the reason, reducing the number of links in the chain – from harvest to plate – can be one of the key drivers towards a greener world.