Production due to start at major urban complex

What is claimed to be Europe's largest urban food-growing complex will begin production next year on top of a wholesale food market and slaughterhouse in the Belgian capital Brussels.

Foodmet: urban food-growing project in Belgian capital - image: Abattoir
Foodmet: urban food-growing project in Belgian capital - image: Abattoir

Covering the building's 4ha roof, the EUR18m (£13m) Foodmet project is the result of a joint venture between the site owners and Building Integrated Greenhouses, a consortium of Germany's ECF Farmsystems and a Swiss partner, TZervice, which will operate the complex as a tenant.

It will include a 1,800sq m aquaponic glasshouse (a combination of fish farming and hydroponic crop growing) as well as more conventional open-air vegetable growing. A garden terrace for guests is also planned, while a tenant is already being sought for a rooftop restaurant that will utilise the produce and fish, both expected to come on-stream for year-round production by the middle of next year.

"Harvested on the same rooftop, served within view of the fish farm and gardens, fresher than anything in the city, this combination and location will create local and international exposure," according to Abattoir, which claims it is "making important steps in supporting circular economy and close food loops".

ECF already operates aquaponic farms in Berlin and in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. The Foodmet project is supported by the city authorities as a means of urban regeneration and by the EU, which provided a grant of EUR7.5m from the European Regional Development Fund.

A further four such projects have been proposed for the greater Brussels region "in order to offer complementary local products and supply a significant amount of fresh fish and produce to the city", said Abattoir.


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