Rainbow Chard
Kicking off 2014 with some research into the leading food trends for both the restaurant and retail environment for 2014, it is enlightening to see the rise of local, nutritious and sustainable food as the outright leader.

The food world is changing, driven by the influence of celebrity chefs, food channels and shows like Masterchef, kitchens are becoming the heart of modern homes and more people enjoying cooking and entertaining. Along with this increased interest in food, health trends have cast a bright spotlight on what, when and how we eat.

The greatest trend for 2014 is the rise of local, nutritious and sustainable food.

The US National Restaurant Association’s annual culinary forecast is dominated by sustainability in 2014, with chef’s indicating locally sourced meat and fresh produce are at the top of the list. Not far behind was environmental sustainability, healthy meals for kids and gluten-free foods. Revealing that today’s consumers are more interested than ever before in what they eat and where their food comes from.
Interestingly when chefs were asked to predict the top menu trends for the next decade, environmental sustainability was their top pick. It is extremely heartening to think that this trend is here to stay rather than being a fad, as ultimately consumer demand has the greatest power to change the way things are done in the food industry.

In addition to the restaurant business, local produce supply is also the top forecast trend for the consumer market. With IBM’s annual “5 in 5” prediction report indicating that buying local will beat online retail as the next big market force. We are already witnessing this movement in the “food stories” becoming part of the retailers display, with pictures of farmers beside their happy and healthy produce or livestock, fresh organic greens and sustainable farming methods being heavily marketed.
At Urban Farms these market forces galvanize our efforts to revolutionise the way that South Africans consume and produce food. This fundamental change in food supply is only sustainable if driven by customers demanding to know where and how their food is produced. This focus on the agricultural economy is returning some power to the farmers that have witnessed the decline of their industry over the past few decades. The increased value of traditional farming methods (organic), care and pride in what they produce may wrestle the power from large agri-business or even better get them to rethink their production methods. At Urban Farms we are passionate about bringing consumers closer to the food they eat as well as to where it is produced.

2014 will see the construction of our groundbreaking farm on the rooftop at Access City in the Maboneng Precinct of Johannesburg’s CBD and the start of fulfilling on our mission to; “grow food where people live, and grow it more sustainably”. This means adopting technologies that provide the most water efficient production of nutrient rich fresh greens and herbs, utilizing integrated pest management solutions to eliminate the use of any pesticides, and doing all of this on our customer’s doorstep to remove all refrigeration and the majority of transportation from our produce supply chain. Delivering to local customers on the day of harvest the highest quality, naturally grown produce with the lowest possible carbon footprint.

Here’s to 2014……….and the birth of South Africa’s first commercial rooftop Urban Farm.
Micro Greens