Ireland's first commercial hydroponic garden, Green Space, has created a commercial partnership worth €150,000 with The Market Lane Collection, one of Cork’s biggest restaurant groups.
Green Space was set up by urban gardener Ellie O’Donovan, who uses a combination of organic growing techniques and hydroponic systems to grow a range of produce for restaurants and cafes who favour a strong eco and low food mile offering.
Green Space is located in Cork's inner city, within 2.5 miles of the Group’s four restaurants - Market Lane, Orso, Castle Café Blackrock, Elbow Lane as well as the Elbow Lane nanobrewery. Initially it will supply the group with salad leaves, herbs and micro greens, eventually extending its range to include hops for the nanobrewery and the group’s other plant-based needs.
This new investment in Green Space reflects the Market Lane Group’s ongoing commitment to reducing food miles and food waste while guaranteeing the supply of the freshest, organic ingredients to its restaurants all year round. The investment will also help to secure the future of this new start-up as it develops.
The Market Lane Group already works closely with traders in Cork’s English Market, sourcing all meat and fish produce there where possible, as well as with a host of foragers, artisan cheese markers and local producers in Cork and throughout Munster.
"This new investment further consolidates our policy of sourcing local, staying local and sustainable growing," says Conrad Howard of The Market Lane Collection. "There is a definite shift by consumers towards more locally grown produce and Green Space takes local and fresh to a whole other level for those that care about food."
"At Green Space we pick and deliver to order locally to ensure optimum flavour and nutritional content," says O’Donovan. "Our growing methods do not deplete soil or waste water, they also avoid the carbon emissions and nutrient loss associated with food transportation and can be grown all year-round.
“Produce that has to travel thousands of miles can’t do very well under those circumstances. Our plants are grown right on the doorstep of our customers and delivered daily."
The Market Lane Collection currently employs more than 150 staff across its four locations.