Brussels Delhaize store to grow own vegetables on roof


One Delhaize supermarket is shortening the food production chain by selling produce it grows on its own roof


Shoppers at one Delhaize store in Brussels need no longer question how fresh the produce is: Chances are it came from the garden on the roof of the store. The garden should start producing in the middle of next year.

Delhaize plans to create a 320 square-metre kitchen garden on the roof of its Boondaal branch in Elsene – half open-air and half in a greenhouse. That would allow the garden to produce year round.

The home-grown produce will be strictly controlled for quality, the supermarket said, and be available in limited quantities. Crops will be grown without the use of pesticides but will not be able to carry an official organic label because they are grown in plant boxes and not in the ground.

The first crops will be cherry tomatoes, lettuce and aubergines and will be sold at a price slightly lower than the supermarket’s organic vegetables. “This urban farm fits completely with Brussels’ ambition to improve the quality of local production,” said Céline Fremault , environment minister for the Brussels-Capital Region.

Delhaize said it would look into ways to involve local people in the operation of the garden, as well as organising tours for schools and other groups. “By creating an educational programme, Delhaize wants to stress the importance of this sort of project, while at the same time strengthening its links with the community,” the company said.

Photo: Architectural impression of how the roof garden will look