Rooftop vegetable gardens could be coming to a city near you if an initiative by global retailers takes off.
Leading supermarket retailer Delhaize has built a greenhouse and vegetable garden on the roof of a Brussels store to provide customers with a local produce option. A variety of lettuces have been planted and will be sold in-store, with eggplants, tomatoes, and zucchini to be added in 2018, a story in J. W. Intelligence explains.
The idea was part of a drive to provide consumers with fresh, locally-sourced food throughout the year, regardless of their location. Additionally, the urban gardens aim to promote sustainability by reducing water usage, pesticides, and carbon emissions. “Developing a healthy and high-quality nutritional pattern…is one of the challenges of the Brussels region,” Brussels Minister for Environment and Energy Céline Fremault said in a statement. “This first city farm of Delhaize is therefore an excellent initiative, which fully fits into one of Brussels’ ambitions: to increase local production.”
Other businesses have embarked on similar initiatives, such as Canadian store IGA and French retailer Carrefour. While Carrefour launched a rooftop garden much like Delhaize’s, IGA began growing more than 30 kinds of fruit and vegetables in-store.
On a local front, New Zealand’s Auckland Council last year constructed a pop-up garden in the heart of the city with fresh herbs and a community fridge where donors can leave unwanted food. Called Griffith Garden, the space is a community hub where workshops are hosted and people can enjoy some greenery during their lunch break. The city’s popular Aotea Square also transforms into a garden over summer annually, with pellets of herbs and flowers scattered around the area.
In Australia, The University of Melbourne’s Burnley campus is reducing flooding and energy usage while enhancing biodiversity with three rooftop gardens called the Burnley Living Roofs. the roofs have different features, with one creating a bird and insect habitat using indigenous plants and natural recycled elements, another examining the quality of stormwater and insulation, and the last exploring how using plants on neglected city surfaces will benefit the environment and urban landscape.
These green thumb initiatives highlight a response to the growing push for cleaner, more environmentally friendly living.