Carrot City Designing for Urban Agriculture


Exhibit Category / Catégorie de l'expo: City

Location/Emplacement: Location Unspecified, The Netherlands
Dates: 2005
Designers/Concepteurs: Innovatie Netwerk
Clients: n/a

More Information/Plus d'informations:
Image Credits/Crédits d'images: J. G. de Wilt, Innovatie Netwerk

Project Description: (version française ci-dessous)


“At present, they exist only in the imagination: ‘Agroparks’, in which agriculture is clustered with other activities. The heart of the concept is an area devoted to both the production and processing of meat, fish, eggs, flowers, fruit and vegetables, all at one and the same location and in such a way as to provide the greatest possible benefits for the environment, the landscape, people and animals. These parks can take on various forms, from multi-storey buildings in a harbour area, to ‘green industrial estates’ or multifunctional parks in the rural area.”


Former pig-farmer Jan Simonse now ‘farms’ in Amsterdam’s docklands. Five days a week, he commutes by car between home and work. Today, as he nears the harbour he sees a large ship, which has just taken on a huge cargo of cut flowers. Those flowers were grown in the glasshouses of a large agropark complex. The glasshouses stand atop a building, which houses one hundred thousand pigs. The pigs are free to roam around their pens, each of which has just thirty animals. They can root about in the straw and can enjoy the daylight, which streams in from above. Simonse is one of the managers of this pig farm. He is responsible for purchasing the pig feed, some of which consists of waste and by-products from a nearby food processing plant. Most pig-farmers administer antibiotics to their animals. Not here. The likelihood of a foreign disease entering the building is so small that preventive medicine is unnecessary. All the pigs were born here, and all will be slaughtered on the premises. Transport, one of the major causes of animal suffering, is therefore also unnecessary. The pigs are consistently monitored by CCTV. It is important to spot any signs of reduced health or welfare as quickly as possible. Stress has a negative effect on the quality of the pork product.

Along with the waste from the glasshouses, the manure produced by the pigs is fermented to for biogas, which is then used to heat the fish-farming tanks in the basement. Fish of all species and sizes swim here. The basement is also used to grow mushrooms, with pig manure used as the growing medium. The mushrooms produce carbon dioxide, which is then piped upstairs into the glasshouses to promote the growth of the flowers. During his morning coffee break, Simonse goes upstairs to chat with his colleagues and catch up on recent events. Colleagues whom he sees every day – that is not something he enjoyed as a pig-farmer. Simonse has yet to get used to this change of working environment. He is no longer his own boss, he and his family no longer live ‘on the job’. He does however enjoy a good steady income. He even receives a share of the profits now that the agropark is performing well. Expansion of scale, reduction of costs and the re-use of by-products and waste have put the company into profit. Simonse’s pig farm has now been sold. With the proceeds, he was able to buy a nice house with a large garden, not too far from his work. The former pigsties were demolished, much to the relief of the neighbours who had been complaining about the smell for many years. The site is now part of a nature reserve.

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Scale (Carrot City Category)


Location: City

Location: Country