It started off as a business idea
It was during an in-house brainstorming session in 2014 that our employees decided they wanted to put into practice the advice that GreenFlex gives to its clients every day, in particular for the food industry. “Several of us wanted to be more concrete in our approach, and test for ourselves the new sustainable solutions before offering them to our clients,” explains Timothée Elkihel, one of the project managers who came up with the idea. The project was heavily discussed around the office, and when the lease for the restaurant below the company’s HQ ended in late 2015, CEO-founder Fréderic Rodriguez decided to take it over.
The word imago denotes the transformation process of a caterpillar into a butterfly, the final stage of metamorphosis through the connection of its imaginal cells. “GreenFlex’s goal is to contribute to society’s metamorphosis,” states Frédéric Rodriguez “a society, which thanks to the relationship and cooperation between all its participants, gives birth to more sustainable lifestyles. With Imago, we want to offer high-quality cuisine at affordable prices, following fair-trade practices. We want it to be a place for dialogue, discovery and meaningful innovation.”
At lunch, it is a ‘fast-good’ restaurant, serving full bentos, containing locally sourced fair-trade produce, mostly organic. In the evening, it serves fine wine, mainly from biodynamic farming, and craft beer. The drinks can be accompanied with a range of light snacks, including cold meats, algae tartare (for vegetarians) and smoked mackerel rillettes. Given GreenFlex’s commitment to sustainable agriculture, the choice of suppliers was an important factor in the project’s development. The purchase of local produce, with as few middlemen as possible, was prioritised, as was the use of sustainable production methods (organically certified cereals, bread, fruit and veg).
GreenFlex’s agricultural engineers, specialists in the industry’s development, oversee the selection of producers. One such person is Virginie Bernois, another project manager and original backer of the project “At GreenFlex, we believe that there is more than one alternative agricultural method (organic, natural, permaculture, urban, local, direct, etc.) to conventional farming. We work as closely as possible with producers so they can promote their production methods. We want them to be part of the Imago project, to come and share their passion for what they do and present their methods.”
A hub for innovation and the promotion of sustainable solutions
Startups specialising in agribusiness will be regularly displayed. We have partnered with KissKissBankBank to offer Imago’s customers the possibility to support projects by rounding up their till total. Imago, in a bid to minimise the supply chain and promote urban agriculture, will grow mushrooms in its basement. The equipment will be installed by the startup La Boîte à Champignons, which specialises in growing mushrooms in coffee grounds and is a rising player in the circular economy. These mushrooms will be used daily in the home-made soup.
As for cultural events, Imago has joined forces with 6B, an artistic venue in Paris, to select ethical artists. A 2×3 metre wall will exhibit a different artist every three months.