Urban agriculture

GROOF: 10 rooftop greenhouse projects in the making

The Smart City Institute contributes to the construction of urban agriculture projects

As of September 2020, the Smart City Institute (SCI) is supporting no fewer than 10 rooftop greenhouse projects, including 4 Belgian ones, alongside the CRAU (Centre de Recherche en Agriculture Urbaine) and other European partners, as part of the European project called GROOF. The objective: to facilitate and support the emergence of rooftop greenhouses in urban areas, with a view to reducing CO2 emissions.


Among the 10 projects selected by the GROOF team (Greenhouses to Reduce CO2 on rooFs) on the basis of a call for applications are 1 Luxembourg project, 5 French projects and 4 Belgian projects.

These projects not only explore different cultivation techniques (hydroponic greenhouses, aquaponics, earthen vegetable gardens, etc.) but also pursue a variety of objectives: educational, social, environmental, commercial, etc.

Belgian projects

Green(s)pote – Brussels

The aim of this greenhouse, which is supported by Les amis de l'Entrepote, is to enable neighbours to garden/produce vegetables all year round and to supply part of the production to the Belgobon restaurant, located just below the Garden. Learn more 

Pousses & vous ! – Brussels

The aim of this project is to develop pedagogical projects in primary and secondary schools, in close collaboration with the teachers, through activities that put them into practice in the field. The harvests represent the by-products that are socially valorised through donations to charitable organisations. Learn more

Novacitis – Liège

Creation of synergies through the four food units that will be built in the former carpentry of the City of Liège: a rooftop production area, a cafeteria, a local food shop and a food processing unit. Learn more

Les Petits Poucets – Namur

This project has two objectives: on the one hand, to produce and sell healthy, fresh and tasty products in the city centre of Namur, and on the other hand, to offer training courses for project leaders. Learn more

French projects

J’habite mon jardin – Tours

This project, designed as a tool for social integration, was created by Tours Habitat, the city's social housing organisation. The production of vegetables and fruit is mainly intended for the future inhabitants of the site. The production part will be completed by training, animation, communication towards a large audience, from student groups to urban farmers.Learn more

ISA/Yncrea – Lille

The Yncrea engineering school wants to create the first European demonstrator of food and agriculture for the city of tomorrow. In an area of 3,000 square metres, Yncrea will create various entities: a Biohacking space for educational approaches, a food factory, a teaching centre, an innovative showroom, a start-up incubator, a vertical agricultural experimentation unit, an open space for citizens. Learn more

Culina Hortus – Paris

Cueillette Urbaine, the company behind the project, aims to create a turnkey urban farm system that consumes little energy and is totally ecological while being productive. Through Culina Hortus, they plan to build France's first aquaponic and bioclimatic greenhouse farm on the roof of the 12th floor of a Parisian building (PARIS 12). Learn more

Symbiose – Nantes

This 400 square metre project, located on the roof of an existing residential building, will offer the inhabitants a new volume to invest in various common activities: shared garden, experiments in urban agriculture, educational space for the district. Learn more

Toits Vivants – Arcueil

Living Roofs is an association that aims to develop integrated and participatory edible ecosystems. The project, led by a property developer (Axone Promotion), consists of developing a multifunctional urban greenhouse and a communal vegetable garden located on the roofs of residential buildings for the use of residents. Learn more

The Luxembourg project

Adhoc habitat participatif – Kirchberg

Adhoc habitat participatif is a Luxembourg non-profit association that aims to provide affordable housing for a stable community in the long term. Through this rooftop greenhouse, they will strengthen social cohesion between residents while creating a link with the environment. Learn more

What does the coaching consist of?

Nicolas Ancion, GROOF project manager for the SCI and the CRAU, explains: "GROOF's expertise covers 4 essential skills for the development of a roof-top greenhouse: construction, energy exchange, production techniques and economic model. The CRAU is competent in production, while the SCI is involved in the managerial/strategic aspect. In concrete terms, for one year, we accompany these project leaders through personalised advice and thematic coaching days to help them bring their project to fruition. These coaching days also enable effective networking, exchanges of good practice and feedback and are punctuated by visits to existing initiatives." The second edition of this coaching took place on 27 and 28 January in Brussels and enabled the various project leaders to work on the business model of their project.

Rooftop greenhouses: a new business model to be supported

As an institute dedicated to smart and sustainable cities and specialised in management issues, the role of SCI, as a stakeholder in the GROOF project, is to accompany these new projects that are emerging, in order to help them build viable, and therefore sustainable, models.


Indeed, innovative projects have a lower success factor due to the risk they take in innovating. The bankruptcy of Urban Farmers in July 2018 (one of Europe's largest rooftop greenhouses located in the Netherlands) is a striking example of this. In this particular case, the many innovations concentrated in one place made the project very (too?) complex and led to a financial failure, which was nonetheless a learning experience for the sector. This is why it is essential to raise awareness and support the new projects that come into being.


What’s next for these projects ?

At the end of this first year of coaching (2020), 4 of the 10 projects - the most successful - will be able to benefit from a second coaching session with the GROOF team, from September 2020 to March 2021.

More information on www.groof.eu

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