Florian Cointet, General Manager, Infarm France
Flavien Sollet, Store Manager, METRO Nanterre
Marie Garnier, Head of Quality and Sustainability, METRO France
In November 2018, the METRO store in Nanterre opened Europe’s largest indoor urban garden, operated by the startup Infarm. Incorporated directly into the wholesaler’s store, the Infarm garden is based on a vertical hydroponic design using a closed water loop that allows production of several varieties of herbs throughout the year. Although yields are as high as 600-700 plants harvested per day, equivalent to 4 metric tons and 40% of the herbs on sale in the store, the environmental impact of this initiative is appreciably lower than with conventional farming.
Despite the inevitable differences in size and business culture – a startup working with France’s leading supplier to the independent catering industry – the two organizations complement each other impressively well. Infarm grows the produce right inside the store with full-time team of two people who deliver their herbs to METRO department managers literally just a few meters away, ensuring an ultra-local supply of super-fresh herbs.