20 Sep Potager Farm Starts Cultivation and Pilot Project: Berlin Restaurants Test First Produce
Potager Farm, a vertical farming company and joint venture between the Greenman Group and Greenman OPEN, has started with the cultivation of its first produce at its farm in Berlin’s district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf last week. Various restaurants from Berlin will receive the harvest to test the products over a limited period of time. As part of the pilot project, the products grown for the very first time will be made available to the cooperation partners free of charge in return for feedback on the quality, shelf life, aroma and flavour profile, freshness, and appearance of the products. The businesses that will test their desired products include an Italian restaurant and a Georgian restaurant.
Over the past months, seeds of various herbs and leafy vegetables have been sown and pre-sprouted in germination rooms. Last week, the batch moved into one of the growth towers, in which about 44,800 plants will be grown on a total space of 122 sqm over the entire test phase. The vertical greenhouse in the east of Berlin has a total of three six-metre-high growth towers with a total cultivation area of about 618 sqm in a controlled environment.
Andonis Sarmias, Managing Director of Potager Farm, comments: “We are not pursuing a strategy of rapid expansion; our focus lies on the products, in order to bring them to perfection for our customers. During our starting phase, we are focusing on continuously improving the technology, our cultivation methods as well as the products we offer. With our pilot project, we want to create a win-win situation where our partners benefit from high-quality, sustainably produced products, while we can develop and optimise the various profiles through valuable feedback.”
Silvia Ve Bellusci, owner of Terra Restaurant underlines the importance of the cooperation: “As a restaurant, we attach particular importance to freshness and quality. Until now, our sources of supply for certain products were often far away, especially for seasonal products. Through the cooperation with Potager Farm we can now rely on locally produced food all year round and at the same time take a decisive step towards climate neutrality. Sustainable food production is an essential future topic in gastronomy, so we are pleased to have Potager as a visionary partner on our side and look forward to working together.”
The vertical farm and current production facility was repurposed from a former car repair shop into sustainable growing space in January this year. The controlled cultivation of crops in vertically stacked layers within a closed building and independent cycle doesn’t require the use of pesticides and uses less fertilisers and water. Using innovative technology from Scottish manufacturer IGS (Intelligent Growth Solutions), environmental conditions such as light, heat, humidity and nutrients are automatically controlled to maintain optimal growing conditions. In addition, there are photovoltaic panels on the roof of the building from our sister company Greenman Energy, which has been supplying the farm with renewable energy in parts so far and will most of it in the long term.
Potager Farm plans to be fully operational early next year, using vertical farming technology to grow produce reaching from vegetables, leafy greens, lettuce, herbs, to potentially medicinal and cosmetic plants, as well as flowers, in order to supply retail centres, supermarkets, retailers, restaurants and hotels in and around Berlin in the future. By combining innovative technology and plant science, Potager Farm aims to grow a wide variety of crops with a minimal ecological footprint in the heart of Berlin.
Photo Credits: IGS