Publication - Report

Bankruptcy of Urban Farmers – What are the lessons to be learned ? (GROOF case study)

In July 2018, one of the largest rooftop greenhouses in Europe went bankrupt. Located in The Hague (Netherlands), the project, named UF002 De Schilde (UF), was set up in 2016 and piloted by "Urban- Farmers", a Swiss company that has already built a pilot rooftop greenhouse based in Basel (Switzerland) in 2013.

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The Urban Farmers' project has made it possible to produce tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and leafy vegetables on a surface area of 1,200 m²; and to raise fish, including tilapia species, just below, on the 6th floor of the occupied building (over 120m³). The total cost of the project is €2.7 million, corresponding to €2,250/m². Despite the fact that the project was developed by experienced urban producers, it had to be stopped in 2018.

Why was it stopped so early? What are the main reasons for this bankruptcy? What mistakes were made? What lessons can be learnt?

Thanks to the documents available online and the interviews it was able to conduct, the GROOF team (including our researcher Nicolas Ancion) has written a complete report that highlights the fact that strategy, internal disagreement and technical production challenges are all linked to the failure of this project. Indeed, the business model of this company, which seemed very attractive on paper, did not achieve economic viability.



Also read : The Conversation - Agriculture urbaine : les leçons de la faillite d’Urban Farmers à La Haye

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