L’Abbatoir in Brussels, one of the largest urban markets in Europe, has become a source of income for people at risk of exclusion, while producing fruit and vegetables in an innovative and sustainable way on its rooftop, using techniques circular economy such as aquaponics. Euroefe and Euractiv have put their magnifying glass on this project as a model for the development of the circular economy in the city.

The market, built as a slaughterhouse in 1890 in Anderlecht, south of Brussels, has been transformed thanks to a €7 million investment from the European Regional Development Fund. In addition to the traditional market stalls, l’Abattoir now has stable stalls selling fresh products, which provide economic support for people with functional diversity and immigrants, in the setting of a disadvantaged multicultural neighbourhood.

The investment has also served to transform 4,000 m2 of the building’s roof into one of the largest urban farms using aquaponics in Europe: the farm is divided into two parts, and includes 2,000 m2 of greenhouses connected to a fish farm, and 2,000 m2 of open-air gardens. The greenhouses and water are heated by the heat from the cold rooms in the market. To reduce water consumption, rainwater is filtered, and to produce energy, solar panels are used.

L’Abattoir also has a space for a laboratory of ideas, where there is, among other things, a cooperative that uses waste from brewing for mushroom production.

The objective of the market is to serve the local market with local products, zero kilometers, and zero emissions in their transportation. By 2035, it is expected to produce 30% of the city’s unprocessed fruits and vegetables.