Interview with Peter de Groot
Peter de Groot, program developer at The New Farm, was interviewed by The Hague’s ImpactCity community recently. “The New Farm is a bold and beautiful effort at large-scale city farming that is now blossoming into an international hotspot for sustainable food production,” the article reads. Read on for a quick and energizing recap of The New Farm’s journey.
"We are convinced that vertical urban farming is the way to go to tackle the food-related challenges of our day and age,” Peter says adamantly. “That’s why, at The New Farm, we launch innovative ideas and plant the seeds of awareness in the world around us.”
“The problems associated with our future food supply are complex. In the years ahead, several challenges will come together,” Peter points out The New Farm’s rationale. “Challenges related to food security will increase the importance of indoor agriculture at a rapid pace. The New Farm taps into this idea.”
City farming can tackle tomorrow’s food challenges
The New Farm is an eight-floor building that represents a full-fledged ecological renewal zone. The building includes the largest rooftop farm in Europe, as well as an ambitious incubator program, meeting place, and retail and catering area.
It aims to create an outstanding environment in which food pioneers are perfectly supported. “These pioneers put the solutions for tomorrow’s food challenges into practice today,” Peter describes The New Farm’s forward-looking residents.
“They are immensely driven and passionate about what they do. Their energy is contagious. It is self-evident whenever I show visitors around the building,” Peter explains. “Their story sells itself, which is the ultimate proof-of-concept.”
Innovative revenue models
Despite the innovative character of the building’s residents and its overall goal, The New Farm is on a mission to maintain a business model that is sustainable. Peter says, “The New Farm’s objectives may be atypical. Nonetheless, when you strip it of all context, we’re a co-working space like any other.”
Nonetheless, “At The New Farm, we seek innovative revenue models for urban agriculture, which in turn will lead to new concepts for real estate and financing as well as different regulations,” he says.
A growing market
“So far, so good,” Peter emphasizes, “behind the scenes, we’re working hard to make our business plan fit into traditional real estate models. At the front end, however, we try our best to offer as many enterprises as possible the opportunity to hitch a ride.”
He adds, “What’s more, we have the market on our side. City farming is gaining in popularity. As a result, our residents are able to find investors to support their initiatives fairly easily.”
A daring effort
“The City of The Hague has gone out on a limb to help make The New Farm a reality. They didn’t choose the easy route,” Peter expresses his appreciation. “The City has made a deliberate decision to invest in solutions to the global challenge of food security.”
He adds, “As a result of The Hague’s daring effort and the success of our project, other cities are now eager to follow suit. Not just nationally, but internationally too,” Peter shares. “Just six months ago, a big Chinese delegation visited our building. By proactively developing this showcase, The Hague has put itself firmly on the map of the upcoming urban farming industry.”