Delhaize to churn out vegetables produced on supermarket rooftop by mid-2017

Wednesday, 07 September 2016 14:36
Next summer, the Delhaize supermarket branch, Delhaize Boondael in Ixelles, will be the first to offer short-cycle vegetables.
Such vegetables will be cultivated on the roof of its shop.

The newly-appointed CEO, Denis Knoops, indicated this today (Wednesday).

Salads, cherry tomatoes and aubergines, in quantities which have yet to be determined, will thus be sold at a lower price than their organic equivalents.

Half of the 320 square metres urban garden will be taken up by open-air production and the other half with a greenhouse, “which will allow cultivation of vegetables throughout the year, even out-of-season,” stresses Delhaize.

The pilot project will be assessed on an ongoing basis and, where appropriate, modified. The terms of the pilot do not rule out growing the practice in other shops.

The supermarket chain states, “In theory, the vegetables meet the criteria for organic vegetables. However, as they are not cultivated directly in natural soil but on a rooftop, they cannot carry this label.”

Delhaize is working on this project with a consultant agronomist and experts in rooftop gardens, as much for preparation as for management reasons.

Céline Fremault, the Brussels Minister for the Environment, notes, “Developing healthy, quality vegetables, based upon short cyles, is one of the challenges for the Brussels region. This is the direction of travel for the Good Food plan which I launched at the beginning of 2016.”

Going further, she says, “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.”

Besides responding to its ambitions for sustainability and local production, Delhaize wishes to involve the neighbourhood and local schools in the project, by eliciting their participation and organising visits.

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times

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