Ex-chef turns to urban farming under Sydney’s CBD

SYDNEY, Nov 4 (Reuters) – A former chef turned farmer has started supplying Sydney restaurants with sustainable herbs and microgreens grown in a car park beneath the city’s harbor business district.

Noah Verin set up his business Urban Green in Sydney’s Barangaroo neighborhood in early 2020 with around 40 different plant species growing side by side. Now he’s pushing the industry to make sustainability a top ingredient.

“I always knew that when people heard the story that there was a basement farm in Barangaroo that was growing food…I knew it would have an impact,” he told Reuters Verin, also holds a degree in environmental sciences.

While vertical farms have been seen as a potential answer to the food crisis, Verin said the conversation has now shifted to how those same farms can also be sustainable.

“There’s no point in creating a farm to help solve these problems if we don’t also create sustainable farms,” ​​he said, ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, which will be held from 6 November in Sharm el-Sheikh. , Egypt.

Verin strives to make its business fully sustainable and aims to make Urban Green carbon neutral by 2026.

So far, he has halved his energy consumption from LED lights, while the fiber he grows plants in – coir – is a by-product of the coconut industry. . He is turning to delivering e-bikes and fully biodegradable plant pots so the business can be plastic-free.

“Noah’s product is still alive, still in its jar and it doesn’t use a lot of plastic or disposables like this, so it’s all very durable, which I love,” said chef Logan Campbell. of the Botswana Butchery restaurant in Sydney. Reuters.

Verin aims to one day open parking lot farms for produce such as chili peppers and strawberries and more green and herbal parking lot micro-farms.

“We want to do at least 50% of our deliveries within a one kilometer radius of the farm because that’s a major advantage…we’re surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of food restaurants,” he said. he declares.

Reporting by Stefica Nicol Bikes Editing by Melanie Burton and Tomasz Janowski

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