A proponent for sustainability, The New York Times named Bakker “The poster boy for zero waste living” last year. He is keenly aware of the importance of embracing new technology as well as employing the knowledge of age-old practices in an integrated manner; an approach illustrated by his use of nutrient-dense soil rather than hydroponics for intensive farming in size-restricted areas like urban rooftops. Bakker sets an example for the entire industry; from world-renowned restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, which has followed his lead in installing composting units, to McDonald’s at the other end of the culinary spectrum, which has switched from plastic containers to traditional kegs for large scale milk delivery.
Bakker is a believer in leading by example and his visions for a more sustainable future are as extensive as they are impressive. Today he continues to collaborate with city councils on innovative ideas, dreaming to one-day fly in over Melbourne to find a city covered in thriving green rooftops.
The pop-up Greenhouse restaurants, built with environmentally conscious materials such as non-toxic glue, have already had a noticeable impact on cities across Australia including Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. In 2011, the lush garden at the Greenhouse rooftop in Sydney welcomed visitors and bees alike, while a vertical garden of potted plants adorned the exterior of the structure. Sustainability also plays a large role in the actual running of the restaurants with food and beverages being served in returnable containers and kegs, as well as electricity being supplied off-grid by a bio-generator on site that converts cooking oil and fat into power. A practice that one former apprentice integrated into his own venture – moving on to set up zero waste restaurant, bakery and brewery called Silo outside Brighton in the south of England.
“Bakker is keenly aware of the importance of embracing new technology as well as employing the knowledge of age-old practices.”