SYDNEY, Nov 4 (Reuters) – A former chef-turned-farmer has started supplying Sydney restaurants with sustainable herbs and microgreens grown in a garden below the city’s harbour business district. PARKING LOT.
Noah Verin established his Urban Green business in Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct in early 2020, with around 40 different plant species growing side by side. Now, he’s driving the industry’s push for sustainability as a top menu ingredient.
“I’ve always known that when people hear stories of a farm growing food in the basement of Barangaroo … I knew it would have an impact,” Verin, who also holds a degree in environmental science, told Reuters.
While vertical farms are seen as a potential solution to the food crisis, Verin said the conversation has now shifted to how these farms can also be sustainable.
“It doesn’t make sense to build farms to help solve these problems if we don’t create sustainable farms,” he said ahead of COP27, the 2022 United Nations climate change conference on Nov. 11. 6 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Verin is pushing his business to be fully sustainable and plans to become Urban Green carbon neutral by 2026.
So far, he has halved the electricity use of his LED lights, and the fiber from the plant he grows – coconut coir – is a by-product of the coconut industry. He’s turning to e-bike deliveries and fully biodegradable planters so the business can be plastic-free.
Logan Campbell, head chef of Sydney restaurant Botswana Butchery, said: “Noah’s product is alive and in jars and he doesn’t use a lot of plastic or any single-use products like that, so I love that it’s all very sustainable. “Reuters.
Verin’s goal is to one day open parking lot farms for products like peppers and strawberries, as well as more parking lot microgreens and herb farms.
“We want to get at least 50 percent of deliveries within a one-kilometre radius of the farm because that’s a major advantage…We have hundreds of foodservice restaurants around us,” he said.
Reporting by Stefica Nicol Bikes Editing by Melanie Burton and Tomasz Janowski
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