Indoor Urban Farming Puts the ‘Grow’ in Grocery Store for a Berlin Supermarket

 Indoor Urban Farming Puts the 'Grow' in Grocery Store for a Berlin Supermarket

Grocery stores are where most of us go for our food, but how many of those store are actually growing what they sell? Can’t think of one, can you? Well, one German supermarket is putting the “grow” in grocery store with an indoor vertical farm, and what may just be a revolution in urban farming–and shopping for food.

Berlin’s Metro supermarket is working with Infarm, the indoor urban farming startup that installed the vertical farm, which conveniently sits at the end of the store’s produce aisle, growing (what else?) fresh produce, mainly greens and herbs.

“I was always very passionate about being self sufficient,” Erez Galonska, founder and CEO of Infarm, told Mashable.

Galonska says traveling to remote communities where “what you grow is what you eat,” changed his life and sprouted the seeds for Infarm.

“I discovered that growing food is such a powerful and natural experience when you eat truly fresh vegetables you recognise immediately how much tastier and healthier they are,” he said.

“When I came back to my flat in the city, the feeling of freedom and freshness dissolved very quickly and the urban chaos took over. I was longing for a piece of land.

“One night I googled: ‘can I farm without soil?’ and the answer I got was: ‘hydroponics.'”

Hydroponics, of course, are nothing new; it’s a growing method used across the globe, and most often indoors—seems like the perfect situation for supermarkets seeking the freshest produce options. The benefits extend beyond freshness, too. Growing food on site reduces the environmental impact and costs of transport. It can also cut down on packaging costs, water, and even labor.

But surprisingly, stores have not capitalized on it, yet.

Here in the U.S., a Whole Foods Market’s Brooklyn location has a greenhouse affixed to its roof; and some of the produce grown there (by a third party) is sold in the store below. But stores actually growing the food they sell? It’s still a novel concept. But for Galonska and Infarm, the “urban farming revolution” is going to happen; it’s just beginning to spread its roots.

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Image via Infarm

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.