September 24, 2021

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Moving from specialized to standard

With sea containers turned into farms internaland Guillaume Fourdinier and Gonzague Gru, founders of startup Agricool, want to bring fresh, pesticide-free produce to the heart of cities and closer to consumers. These modular containers allow the development of aviation technology and meet the demand of urban residents. And as a short circuit, it’s hard to do a better job.

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few Strawberry slept in an apartment, Agricole He went on to start up 65 employees which revolutionized FoodTech with the idea of ​​turning sea containers into farms internal The fruits and vegetables are then produced and distributed locally in the heart of the cities.

Where did the idea for Agricole come from?

Guillaume Fourdinaire : Gonzague Gru and I are the sons of farmers from Pas-de-Calais. We have been fed with local food A permanent we did not find when we came to town for our study. It all started from there. The local supply of fruits and vegetables is not enough for the large number of the city’s population, they have to be imported, unfortunately often from very distant places, sometimes 1500 km, which inevitably leads to the freshness, quality and quality of the product. The ultimate nutritional value. Initiatives such as “La Ruche qui dit Oui” or a file a map (maintenance associations Agriculture Peasants, editor’s note) are going in this direction but lack producers to meet demand. Hence our idea of ​​growing fruits and herbs Aromatics In containers near cities.

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The offer is currently limited to five products, why?

GF We do not think in terms of supply, but in terms of demand. What is the city’s population need of fruits and vegetables, and thus how to produce them locally and qualitatively. We started growing strawberries in an apartment before coming up with the idea of ​​a container. Not only allowed to be placed in cities but also development of aeroponics, a form of soilless farming that supplies the plant with water and nutrients, in a closed circuit, thus 95% less water consumption compared to a conventional system. I slept without Insecticides, Aromatic fruits and herbs are picked directly at maturity, and distributed on the same day over a few kilometers, which significantly reduces the impact Carbon Move.

Aren’t you afraid to put more difficulties in the already struggling rural agriculture?

GF : Our will specifically Agriculture support The so-called traditional and not replaced. Moreover, we exchange regularly with strawberry producers, which allows us to learn from them and not “reinvent the wheel” on occasion. They are a little challenged in their production methods. It’s very enriching. Knowing that in France, more than 26 square meters of agricultural land disappears every second, and, on the contrary, 70% of the population must live In the city by 2050We have an interest in working together.

What do you think of the FoodTech movement?

GF : I find the term a bit overused, especially because it includes both meal delivery companies and New agricultural models, This a ghost Very broad… However, it is good for people to pack in in favor of food and to be supported in their business. a lot of good ideas Take root like news for example protein With Ynsect and Innovafeed, or those who fight food waste with Phenix and Too Good To Go. Each has their own project, their story and their solution, but if it can help make the world a better place, so much the better!

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Is technology a good way to achieve this?

GF : I am convinced that technology used wisely is indeed a good tool. This is what allowed us to be the first to establish this type of farm in the world. internal Standardized and divided our consumptionenergy By 10 in 5 years. So yes, unfortunately, these technologies are still very expensive which affects the prices. This is also why we chose to work with wide distribution: moving from niche to standard so that as many people as possible can benefit from these fresh products. But, like the computer that now provides access to education for all, if our technologies are democratized, they can also make it possible, why not one day, to fight Malnutrition all over the world !

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