Belgian start-up Peas&Love has secured 1.2 million euro in investments to develop 150 urban farming projects... on rooftops. Currently the company has developed two urban roof top farms in Brussels and two in Paris.
Times 40 in five years' time
Three years into its existence, Peas&Love accounts for 600 allotments, divided over the rooftops of shopping centre Cameleon in Brussels, the World Trade Center in Brussels, a hotel in Paris and the headquarters of BNP Paribas Fortis, also in the French capital. Locals can rent a 3 sqm parcel for 38 euros per month, in which a professional gardener takes care of up to 70 kinds of fruit, vegetables or herbs according to the principles of permaculture: the only thing you have to do yourself, is the harvest. "It's cheaper than buying your fruit and vegetables in the supermarket", says founder Jean-Patrick Scheepers.
With the new investment, Scheepers "hopes to finance an expansion throughout Europe: our ambition is to open 150 farms in 12 European regions in the next five years", he says in Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. Among the new candidates are Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, London and Lyon, Brussels could get up to six new urban farms, Paris might get up to thirty.
People called Scheepers crazy when he started developing his plan five years ago, but he has been proven right: "One year ago, the first Peas&Love urban farm opened in Brussels: the 275 parcels were rented out in the blink of an eye. And the same goes for Paris." Not surprisingly, according to the founder: "We are right in the money with the three biggest trends of the moment: the demand for healthy, local food; an interest for new food experiences that use all the senses; and the need to give nature more room in our cities. At the same time, we create a place where people can meet each other in a meaningful way: everyone reaps the benefits!"