|Conrad and Ellie (Pic by Paddy O'Shea)|
Ireland's first commercial hydroponic garden, Green Space, has created a commercial partnership worth €150,000 with The Market Lane Group, one of Cork’s biggest restaurant groups. Green Space was set up by urban gardener, Ellie Donovan, who uses a combination of organic growing techniques and hydroponic systems to grow a range of produce for Cork-based restaurants and cafes who favour a strong eco and low food mile offer.
This exciting 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 exciting new start-up as business develops.
Donovan has serious form as a gardener, learning her trade on the Mount Juliette Estate and more recently at Market Lane’s restaurant garden at Blackrock Castle while starting her own company.
The €8m Market Lane Group already works very 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 Group. “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 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."
"We are delighted to partner with The Market Lane Group; their chefs are really excited about this initiative and we are looking forward to working together to develop a range of ingredients which will inspire new dishes, drinks and menus."
The Market Lane Group currently employs more than 150 employees across its 4 locations. The business has grown steadily and organically through the recession and 2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of its Market Lane Restaurant, the group’s first restaurant.