These convention centres are growing their own veggies

Convention centres are investing in urban farming, transforming menus and providing fresh dining experiences for delegates.

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre's general manager Alan Pryor harvests the first batch of salads grown on the venue’s rooftop with Liz Jasri, director of The Green Attap.
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre's general manager Alan Pryor harvests the first batch of salads grown on the venue’s rooftop with Liz Jasri, director of The Green Attap.

Earlier last month in August, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) celebrated the first harvest of its hydroponic (where plants are grown in sand, gravel, or liquid) farm on its rooftop.

KLCC has partnered with The Green Attap, a Kuala Lumpur-based urban farming company, to set up and maintain its rooftop farm, growing and harvesting fresh, pesticide-free vegetables that will feature in delegate menus.

Chef Hisham Jaafar, executive chef at KLCC said: “We want to provide the thousands of people meeting at our venue daily with healthy food that is free from pesticides. We are growing a variety of lettuces, lollo bionda, lollo rossa and butterhead, serving them fresh at small and short-lead meetings. Our rainwater harvesting system is channelling water to the farm making it completely sustainable.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp; Brendan Condon, director of Melbourne Skyfarm; and Peter King, CEO of Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre at the launch of the rooftop farm.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp; Brendan Condon, director of Melbourne Skyfarm; and Peter King, CEO of Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre at the launch of the rooftop farm.

In Australia, Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has been involved with Melbourne Skyfarm, which has transformed a rooftop car park in the city’s central business district into an urban farm. In a recent update on the building’s progress, MCEC chief executive Peter King said: "Skyfarm is a wonderful opportunity for MCEC to lead the way for businesses to take charge of their responsibility to the environment.”

The site, which is still under construction, will demonstrate how to grow fresh produce and incorporate nature into city spaces whilst using greenery to help cool the urban environment. When completed, it will feature a 90-seat licensed café and a range of public spaces, with some spaces available for events, exhibitions, meetings, conferences, and celebrations.

The hospitality elements of Melbourne Skyfarm will champion best practices in sustainable farming and low-waste hospitality techniques, as well as sustainable produce from the Greater Melbourne and Victorian regions.

New York’s Javits Center has unveiled Jacob’s Harvest, a new line of pickled produce from its one-acre rooftop farm.
New York’s Javits Center has unveiled Jacob’s Harvest, a new line of pickled produce from its one-acre rooftop farm.

In July, New York’s Javits Center has unveiled Jacob’s Harvest, a new line of pickled produce from its one-acre rooftop farm, managed by urban farming company Brooklyn Grange. The first 250 jars feature pickled radishes, with pickled cucumbers, banana peppers and red cabbages available later this year.

Alan Steel, CEO of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which operates the Javits Center said: “We’re proud to provide our customers with produce grown only steps from where they are consuming it, and we hope our efforts inspire others to follow our lead.”

Paris Expo Porte de Versailles’ urban rooftop farm, called Nature Urbaine, opened in 2020 and is the largest in Europe. It produces around 30 varieties of fruit and vegetables for local residents and businesses and the site offers a range of workshops where participants can tour the urban farm and taste a range of products.



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