4 steps to create an urban garden in your company building

Urban gardens can be cultivated even in companies based in buildings, as is the case at iFood — find out how this can be done.

Technology allows you to grow food in closed spaces with high productivity

Who said that a crop cannot grow inside a building? Urban gardens are gaining ground with the proposal to make cities greener — and agriculture more technological.

Any company that has an idle area can use it to create an urban garden and use the harvest, for example, to prepare meals that are served to its team. iFood, which has an urban vegetable garden At its headquarters, it donates its entire monthly production, of around 1.7 tons, to the Osasco Food Bank.

And the space doesn't need to be that big. “Our next project with iFood uses an area of 300 m² to produce the same quantity as in Osasco, which has an area three times larger”, explains Giuliano Bittencourt, founder of Begreen, responsible for iFood's urban garden.

This is possible with the verticalization of the garden, which allows for several layers of production in the same area to produce tons of food and feed thousands of employees per day.

Any area is valid, including closed spaces. Ideally, it should have natural sunlight; If there are none, LED lamps can do the job. This is just one of the technologies used to optimize all cultivation variables.

In the urban garden, 100% of production is controlled. As temperature, humidity, light, oxygenation and other variables are regulated, productivity per square meter is up to 28% higher than that of conventional farms, according to Giuliano. “With a lot of onboard technology, you can produce a lot in a small area. And 90% consumes less water.”

It's just not possible to create an urban garden where there is not enough consumption — the ideal is to start from 1.5 tons per month, so that the investment makes economic sense. Discover, below, what are the steps to have an urban garden in the company.

How to prepare to have an urban garden

1 – Define the destination

The first step of the project is to decide what will be the destination of the food produced. In general, what companies grow is used in their cafeteria, but some companies, such as iFood, donate the food.

2 – Calculate demand

Stipulating the monthly food consumption (or the donation target) is an important guideline for calculating the area needed for the garden to meet this demand. “It’s as if built to suit became farm to suit. The project meets exactly the company’s needs”, comments Giuliano.

3 – Choose the food

Any vegetable that grows above the surface of the earth can be grown in urban gardens. Some examples are leafy vegetables (such as lettuce, arugula, watercress) and seasonings (thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, chives and coriander), as well as tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, peppers and zucchini.

4 – Prepare the ground

To receive the garden, it is necessary to provide an energy point and a water point to supply production. By reducing water consumption during cultivation by 90%, an urban garden measuring 1000 m2 consumes the same amount of liquid as one day of using a company bathroom. “Each plant consumes 1 liter of water per month”, explains Giuliano. “The increase in energy is negligible.”

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