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Charter Hall Group (Charter Hall or the Group) has partnered with start-up Urban Green Sydney (Urban Green) to bring to life Sydney CBD’s largest vertical urban farm at its 1 Shelley Street office tower, which is home to major tenant customer, Macquarie Group.
Urban Green has put down roots in the building’s 1,000 square metre basement space. The vertical farm will produce over 30 different varieties of microgreens, all designed to minimise the effect of external environmental factors on the production of food and meet the needs of the growing city population.
Charter Hall’s Managing Director and Group CEO, Mr David Harrison, said: “It’s fantastic to partner with such an inventive and forward-thinking business like Urban Green Sydney, and I’m excited to have them join our tenant customer community at 1 Shelley Street.
“What was previously an under-utilised space is now re-imagined and a prime example of not only the evolving nature of our workplaces, but how innovative business partnerships can bring sustainability and social benefits to our CBDs.”
Founded in 2016, Urban Green was Sydney’s first commercial indoor farm and it now has an impressive list of Sydney wholesalers and restaurants on its supply list, including the Bentley Restaurant Group and The Sam Prince Restaurant Group. Aligned with Charter Hall’s focus on innovation and sustainability, Urban Green’s mission is to supply the local marketplace with sustainable, affordable and nutritious food, without use of the damaging pesticides and herbicides that are often used in traditional agriculture. It also strives to educate Sydneysiders on sustainable farming methods and how easy it is to grow their own nutrient dense food.
Following the move from its previous premises in Marrickville to Charter Hall’s 1 Shelley Street, Urban Green can now produce up to 4,000 punnets of microgreens a week. At approximately 20g per punnet, this will result in around 80 kilograms of microgreens being grown per week, which is a mammoth 4,160 kilograms a year. Furthermore, by using up to 95 per cent less water than traditional farms, Urban Green ensures that every drop of water used in production in captured, recirculated and then reused by existing plants.
Mr Noah Verin, Director of Urban Green Sydney said the move to 1 Shelley Street and partnership with Charter Hall had been an exciting step forward for his company.
“We’re thrilled to officially launch Sydney CBD’s largest vertical urban farm. This move will allow us to educate more people about the benefits of vertical farming and also boost our production capacity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has of course presented us with some challenges over the past few months, however Charter Hall have been very supportive and it’s only encouraged us to make our offering more diverse. For example, we’ve now started an online store where customers can order and collect straight from the CBD or receive home delivery in certain postcodes. We’ll soon also be offering ‘grow it yourself’ kits for people to have fun with at home, following a successful trial period.
“We’re looking forward to when more workers are able to return to offices and we can begin running the exciting educational workshops on urban farming that we have planned in the new space. It’s important for more Australians to understand the future of food production and the benefits that vertical farming brings to the table,” said Mr Verin.
Although a relatively new industry in Australia, vertical farming will play a crucial role in preparing for increased food demand as the population grows. Through advanced technology, vertical farms are not hindered by natural disasters or formidable weather conditions. Instead, crops can comfortably grow year-round.
Charter Hall’s Chief Experience Officer, Ms Natalie Devlin, said the arrival of Urban Green Sydney will create a more sustainable work day for tenants.
“Sustainability is more important than ever for Charter Hall and our tenant customers. Having a vertical indoor farm as part of the 1 Shelley Street community provides a great opportunity to drive these values right in the heart of Sydney and improve education around sustainable farming methods.
“As people return to the CBD in greater numbers, we look forward to seeing tenants and locals engage with the space and pick up some fresh produce. Together, with Urban Green Sydney, we will deliver healthier and more sustainable outcomes for workers and the wider community,” said Ms Devlin.
Click and collect orders from Urban Green Sydney can be made from its website www.urbangreensydney.com/store.