Europe's largest urban farm in Brussels protects the planet one step at a time

By Agency

BIGH Farm in Anderlecht, the largest hydroponic farm in Europe. Photo: AFP

For Steven Beckers, food production in the city is the solution rather than the problem. At the heart of Brussels, on the rooftop of the Foodmet food hall spanning 4,000sq m in Anderlecht, he has set up an ultra-modern farm that operates on the principle of aquaponics, a process that actually dates back to the Aztecs and ancient China.

An agricultural project in line with the principles of the circular economy

A renowned Belgian architect, Beckers has become one of the main champions of the circular economy and a trailblazer in urban agriculture across Belgium. Indeed, the circular economy forms the nub of the BIGH Farm project. The heat emitted by Foodmet's fridges is recovered using a pump system which in turn heats the greenhouses.

The vast majority of the electricity consumed in this process is provided by photovoltaic panels. The plants are irrigated in a closed circuit using water from ponds where fish are bred. This filtered water contains key nutrients for plants. Finally, the pollination of the plants is ensured thanks to rooftop beehives.

Benefitting local populations

The resulting farm produce – vegetables, savoury herbs and fish – are distributed across the region. Ultimately, the weekly production target is set to reach 35 tonnes of striped bass per year, 15 tonnes of tomatoes and no fewer than 2,700 pots of savoury herbs. Production is predominantly carried out by the less able-bodied and those in professional reintegration.

The weekly segment "Protecting the planet, one step at a time" gives the floor to the NGO Energy Observer Solutions, which carries out reports all over the world. Energy Observer is the name of the first hydrogen-powered, zero-emission vessel to be self-sufficient in energy, advocating and serving as a laboratory for ecological transition. Criss-crossing the oceans without air or noise pollution for marine ecosystems, Energy Observer sets out to meet women and men who devote their energy to creating sustainable solutions for a more harmonious world. Find out more: – AFP Relaxnews

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BIGH Farm , urban planning , food security


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