What’s the key to unlocking eco-friendly food production and consumption? We examine the ambitious pioneers who aspire to meet the growing demands of a burgeoning population in their own unique way. Beginning in Taiwan’s S Café, we discover a new fabric comprised of leftover coffee ground; we then move to Berlin where Infarm has developed leading-edge technology to control vertical farms in the city centre; and we finish in Lisbon with the Muita Fruta app where locals and tourists can map, harvest and care for fruit trees and even make jam to help finance the project.


    About 70 per cent of textiles used by outdoor and sportswear manufacturers worldwide is made in Taiwan. Taiwan’s 24 million island inhabitants get through 2.85 billion cups of coffee a year – 780,000 a day – which leaves behind tonnes of coffee ground. Textile industrialist Jason Chen, who founded fabric manufacturing firm Singtex in 1989, decided to make good use of this combination. In 2005, when Chen was having a coffee break after a hike, his wife called him a “stinky man” and suggested that he make use of the coffee grounds, known for their deodorising properties. This inspired Chen to turn coffee ground into fabric that’s sustainable and deodorising. “For making a cup of coffee, 99.8 per cent of coffee becomes ground,” says Chen, who collects more than 600kg of leftover coffee grounds from coffee chains and convenience shops a day to produce high-quality sportswear fabrics.

    Chen invested more than €1.8m into his innovation until S Café was established in 2009 – and it became an instant success. S Café’s first client was Timberland in the UK, which applied the new material to its shoes, jackets and polo shirts as it’s UV resistant and three times better at absorbing odour than its cotton counterparts. Now more than 110 brands buy S Café, the fabric that makes up 35 per cent of Chen’s businesses. Singtex works with local fabric mills and its own dyeing factory, which cut 50 per cent of carbon emissions from production. Chen has also extended his environmental values to his team: they now help farmers with their harvests and take part in conserving one of Taiwan’s largest wetlands.


    “I used to live on the Canary Islands, where I grew my own food,” says Erez Galonska, CEO and co-founder of Infarm. “After a year of doing this I realised that I wanted to share the experience with others.” Infarm builds smart modular farms to address the growing demand for local and transparent urban-food production. Together with his partner Osnat Michaeli and his brother Guy, Erez has been patenting farming technologies designed to help cities become self-sufficient. “My brother and I call ourselves self-educated farmers,” says Erez, who had no professional background in agriculture before launching Infarm in Berlin four years ago. “We chose Berlin because there’s a big urban-farming movement here,” he adds, suggesting that their goal is to help Germany’s capital become more sustainable. “In terms of herbs and leafy greens, Berlin can become self-sufficient over the course of the next eight years.” Infarm’s pioneering technology combines hydroponics with cuttingedge technology designed to control the conditions of the vertical farm via algorithms and LED lights, controlled by centralised computers. “Our experts can collect data and optimise climate conditions, nutrients, fertilisers and other elements that affect plant growth,” says Erez.

    “Our farms have become really smart: they notify us when they’re ready to be harvested.” According to a study by the Leibniz-Institute, Infarm’s produce is even healthier than what’s currently stocked on supermarket shelves thanks to its advanced technology. The beauty of the modular system is that it can be deployed anywhere, whether in train stations, schools, restaurants or shops. Silvia.jpg This gives clients the ability to produce food right where it’s consumed. Following its successful collaboration with Metro Group, Infarm has just introduced its in-store farms across multiple branches of German supermarket giant Edeka. “We will install our fully transparent farms inside the Edeka shops to create a unique in-store experience and share the magic of growing with its consumers, making Berlin the first city to adopt urban farming on such a scale,” says Michaeli. “By growing directly where people buy their food we are able to cut out the lengthy supply chain and improve not only the quality but also the environmental footprint of our produce, leading towards a more sustainable and healthy future.”


    Less than 1 per cent of Singapore’s land mass is used for agriculture. But Bjorn Low, who co-founded urban-farming social enterprise Edible Garden City in 2012, is changing this. He’s helped restaurants such as The Tippling Club and Salted and Hung build gardens to grow their own food and has since encouraged many more to do the same on converted rooftops and pavements. His latest venture is Citizen Farm. It’s an 8,000 sq m facility cultivating vegetables, mushrooms, fish, chickens and insects that help with waste management in the heart of the residential neighbourhood of Queenstown in Singapore. Its goal is to encourage the nation’s next generation of farmers.

    Is there an urban-farming culture sprouting up in Singapore?
    We are way behind New York with Brooklyn Grange, Gotham Greens and Aerofarms that recently raised nearly €18m of funding to develop vertical farming. When we started five years ago, urban farming was unheard of; there was only us and Comcrop. Even now the entry barrier is high due to landaccessibility challenges, capital requirements and skilled-labour shortages.

    How did you sow a love of farming in citizens living in the dense and space-starved nation?
    The biggest challenge was to correct people’s misconception of farming. Many property developers were averse to farms as they thought it meant bad smells, untidiness and empty land after a harvest. It was hard to convince property owners to open up spaces to us. After a few key projects for clients such as Marina Bay Sands and Fairmont Hotel we found a more diverse revenue stream that spans from the building and maintenance of edible gardens, the retail of organic gardening products and workshops. We developed and tested edible-garden concepts for hotels, schools and restaurants where we were able to create a permanent foodscape that is both good to look at and productive – it’s a fine balance.

    What are your next steps?
    Within the next 10 years we hope to lower the barriers to urban farming by using Citizen Farm as an incubator for new urban-farming businesses, to encourage more people to pick up urban farming as a business or job. We hope that this model can be scaled for more under-utilised spaces such as the viaducts, more rooftops and other institutions and plan to tighten the operational model to license it as a plug-and-play model.


    Be it oranges, loquats, persimmons or figs, behind its garden walls Lisbon is peppered with fruit trees (22 different species to be exact). Yet before journalist-cumphotographer Adriana Freire launched Muita Fruta, hardly anybody was taking a bite. “We couldn’t look at our neighbours’ backyards and see such fruit waste without doing anything,” says Freire. That’s why she began mapping the trees across the city in 2016. Her passion project has led to an app that lets anyone who spots a fruit tree on the street map it for people to harvest – as long as they’re up to the challenge. Those who can’t harvest are invited to help make jam, which is then sold to finance the project’s activities. Many of the trees mapped are wild and in need of a good watering or pruning; others are well preened and stand proud in Lisbon’s most public squares and boulevards.

    “The Ethnology Museum in Belém is surrounded by orange trees,” says Freire. “Until now no one had dared pick them because they are bitter. But that is exactly what is needed for a great marmalade.” Events and talks are also on the agenda, as is potential expansion further afield to the city of Caldas da Rainha further north. “The rediscovery of the wild flora is important for inhabitants’ approach to nature and natural cycles,” says Freire. “If it was up to us Lisbon would already be an orchard.”


    This is a marketing communication issued by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd or an entity of the Group (hereinafter "Lombard Odier"). It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a document. This marketing communication is provided for information purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to subscribe, to purchase, sell or hold any security or financial instrument. It contains the opinions of Lombard Odier, as at the date of issue. These opinions and the information contained herein do not take into account an individual’s specific circumstances, objectives, or needs. No representation is made that any investment or strategy is suitable or appropriate to individual circumstances or that any investment or strategy constitutes a personal recommendation to any investor. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future. Lombard Odier does not provide tax advice. Therefore you must verify the above and all other information provided in the marketing communication or otherwise review it with your external tax advisors.

    Investments are subject to a variety of risks. Before entering into any transaction, an investor should consult his/her investment advisor and, where necessary, obtain independent professional advice in respect of risks, as well as any legal, regulatory, credit, tax, and accounting consequences. The information and analysis contained herein are based on sources considered to be reliable. However, Lombard Odier does not guarantee the timeliness, accuracy, or completeness of the information contained in this document, nor does it accept any liability for any loss or damage resulting from its use. All information and opinions as well as the prices, market valuations and calculations indicated herein may change without notice.

    Past performance is no guarantee of current or future returns, and the investor may receive back less than he/she invested. The value of any investment in a currency other than the base currency of a portfolio is subject to foreign exchange rate risk. These rates may fluctuate and adversely affect the value of the investment when it is realised and converted back into the investor’s base currency. The liquidity of an investment is subject to supply and demand. Some products may not have a well-established secondary market or in extreme market conditions may be difficult to value, resulting in price volatility and making it difficult to obtain a price to dispose of the asset.

    European Union Members: This marketing communication has been approved for use by Lombard Odier (Europe) S.A., a credit institution authorised and regulated by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) in Luxembourg and by each of its branches operating in the following territories: Belgium: Lombard Odier (Europe) S.A. Luxembourg • Belgium branch, a credit institution supervised in Belgium by the Banque nationale de Belgique (BNB) and the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA); France: Lombard Odier (Europe) S.A.• Succursale en France, a credit institution supervised in France by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR) and by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) in respect of its investment services activities; Italy: Lombard Odier (Europe) S.A. • Italian Branch, credit institution governed in Italy by the Italian stock market regulator (Commissione Nazionale per la Società e la Borsa, or CONSOB) and the Bank of Italy; Netherlands: Lombard Odier (Europe) S.A. • Netherlands Branch, a credit institution supervised in the Netherlands by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and by Autoriteit Financiële Markten (AFM); Spain: Lombard Odier (Europe) S.A. • Sucursal en España, a credit institution supervised in Spain by the Banco de España and the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV); and United Kingdom: Lombard Odier (Europe) S.A. • UK Branch, a credit institution in the UKsubject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (‘PRA’). Details of the extent of our authorisation and regulation by the PRA and regulation by the FCA are available from us on request. UK regulation for the protection of retail clients in the UK and the compensation available under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme does not apply in respect of any investment or services provided by an overseas person.

    In addition, this marketing communication has also been approved for use by the following entities domiciled within the European Union: Gibraltar: Lombard Odier & Cie (Gibraltar) Limited, a firm which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Commission, Gibraltar (FSC) to conduct banking and investment services business; Spain: Lombard Odier Gestión (España) S.G.I.I.C., S.A.U., an investment management Company authorised and regulated by the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV).

    Switzerland: This marketing communication has been approved for issue by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd, a bank and securities dealer authorised and regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

    United States: Neither this document nor any copy thereof may be sent, taken into, or distributed in the United States or given to any US person.

    This marketing communication may not be reproduced (in whole or in part), transmitted, modified, or used for any public or commercial purpose without the prior written permission of Lombard Odier.

    © 2017 Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd – all rights reserved. Ref. LOCH/LOESA – GM – en – 122016.


    Sprechen wir.