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Netherlands: Farming fish and vegetables on a The Hague office rooftop


An empty Philips office block in the heart of The Hague is producing vegetables and fish on a commercial basis.

By Senay Boztas
Dutch News
Apr 22, 2016


This dilapidated, 1950s office block in the middle of The Hague, is growing something astonishing: on its sixth floor is a 370 sqm fish farm, while the roof has been converted to a 1,200 sqm greenhouse for vegetables, making this Europe’s largest commercial urban farm.

‘I grew up on a farm in Aberdeenshire,’ says Durno. ‘One of my jobs as a six-year-old was to pick up the milk for the morning breakfast from the dairy. The only thing I got excited about was that the cream separated. We have this disconnect with what fresh is, instead of enjoying the fact that we have a good quality, fresh product in our mouths without questioning it.’

So, he wants to connect people up again. In the first instance, the farm has ‘gastropartners’ in restaurants and a cooking school that will use its food. From September, they will also offer local people in the Hague a weekly basket of fish and veg costing about €12.50 per person for around 200g of fish, plus 700g of tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, Swiss chard, baby leaf salad and those trendy ‘microgreens’.

‘I will be very happy to reach 900 customers a week,’ Durno adds. ‘In the next five or even 15 years, this will be a niche of the niche. But it links into the circular economy: we have empty rooftops and empty industrial buildings. In The Hague, 25% of buildings are empty. Let’s fill them with produce.

Read the complete article here.