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Denmark is one of the greenest countries in the world. Over 20 percent of the country’s energy comes from renewable energy (from wind turbines). The Danes are big on green and sustainable living. There are painted footprints leading to trashcans and the Danes are known for their love of riding bikes. There are specified bicycle lanes everywhere, which include traffic lights for bicyclists. Copenhagen is even the first capital in the world to be carbon neutral.
The most popular restaurant in Denmark is Noma and is probably the most difficult to get a reservation for (believe me, I tried). Located in Copenhagen, Noma—which is a contraction of the Danish words for “Nordic” and “Food”—is the brainchild of 37-year-old chef René Redzepi. “René Redzepi and Noma have reversed the direction of food creativity, insisting that nature, and the exploration of nature should be the foundation of cooking … Foraging is a key activity, where chefs are sent to the woods to gather all the edibles otherwise forgotten by mainstream food culture.”
Now Redzepi is planning something new for the famed restaurant. Set to close on New Year’s Eve of 2016, Redzepi hopes to reopen Noma in 2017 as an urban farm. Currently located in the Christianshavn neighborhood of Copenhagen, which is on the waterfront, Noma will be relocated just outside the city’s Christiania community. The location the chef has chosen is a bit run down and not where you’d expect a world-class restaurant to reside.
“It makes sense to do it here,” Redzepi told The New York Times. “It makes sense to have your own farm, as a restaurant of this caliber.”
Redzepi’s plans include turning the asphalt into a farm, making part of the farm a floating farm (a raft with a huge field on it, he says), a full-time farmer and farm team, a rooftop greenhouse. Having a restaurant with its own farm will give Redzepi more control over the ingredients used in the menu. The change is for no other reason than to evolve and progress.
“We should make decisions that make this evolution last for 912 years,” Redzepi told The New York Times.
The Noma menu (as well as the tableware) will reflect the seasons. The fall menu will consist of wild game, mushrooms and forest berries; the winter menu will be mostly seafood; and in the spring and summer the menu will turn vegetarian, according to The New York Times.
While Redzepi is going forth with his idea to turn Noma into an urban farm, he told The New York Times, “It really, really, really, really makes me nervous. I’m not afraid. But it does make me nervous.”
With the success Noma has had so far, and the green living that is so prominent in Denmark, his urban farm idea might be just as successful.