The 14,000m² farm is set to open in the south-west of the French capital early next year. Designers plan to grow more than 30 different plant species and the site will produce around a tonne of fruit and vegetables every day in high season.
New urban farm on Paris rooftop will be world’s largest
In the 15th arrondissement of the French capital, an urban farm is being built designers say will supply residents with a tonne of food a day. Currently being renovated, the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles is set to become home to the world’s largest urban rooftop farm in 2020.
The 14,000 m² (150695 sq feet) space – equivalent to about two soccer pitches – will be loaded with around 30 different species of plant. These will be grown in columns without soil and fed with nutrient-rich solutions and rainwater. This aeroponic method uses little water and means a large number of plants can be grown in a small area.
Visitors will be able to purchase produce as well as sample it in the rooftop restaurant. The farm will also host educational tours and various events. And citizens will also be able to rent space to grow their own crops.
Urban farming a “growing trend”
Urban farming is a “growing trend” (pun intended) – in fact Agripolis, the company behind the farm, already runs other rooftop farms around France.
Founder Pascal Hardy wants more urban spaces to join the cause: “Our vision is a city in which flat roofs and abandoned surfaces are covered with these new growing systems. Each will contribute directly to feeding urban residents who today represent the bulk of the world’s population,” he told The Guardian.
The city’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been on a mission to make Paris a greener city since being elected in 2014. The French government’s Parisculteurs initiative aims to cover 100 hectares of the city’s rooftops, walls and urban spaces with plants by 2020. One-third of this space will be dedicated to urban agriculture.
Pesticide and chemical-free, the farm will be a haven for biodiversity
The designers plan to grow more than 30 different plant species. The site will produce around 1,000kg of fruit and vegetables every day in high season. Tended by around 20 gardeners, they will also be using entirely organic methods.
The farm will also have its own on-site restaurant and bar with capacity for around 300 people. Run by Paris’s renowned chain of rooftop venues, Le Perchoir, this aerial eatery will offer panoramic views over the capital – and the menu will feature seasonal produce grown on the site.
“Our fresh produce will be used to feed the inhabitants across the south-west of the city – either directly, through veg-box schemes or via shops, hotels and canteens – thereby helping to reduce food miles,” Hardy told The Guardian.
“Furthermore, we won’t be using any pesticides or chemicals, so the farm will be a haven for biodiversity.”
The farm will also offer a range of services related to urban agriculture, including educational tours, team-building workshops and special events. Last but not least, there will be the opportunity for local residents to lease small vegetable plots of their own – in specially-devised wooden crates – helping to reconnect city-dwellers with their food source.
“Our guiding principle with all our farms is to help foster environmental and economic resilience in tomorrow’s cities,” says Hardy, who expects the farm to start making a profit within its first year. “If we can create a model that is commercially viable, rather than having to rely on goodwill and subsidies, that will help urban farms to become sustainable in their own right.”
Paris has committed to planting 100 hectares of vegetation across the capital by 2020
Large-scale urban farming is not a new idea, with major sites already in place in The Hague, Detroit and Shanghai, among others; but this new flagship farm in Paris will be ground-breaking in several ways. Not only will it be the largest rooftop farm in the world, but they will also be pioneering their own technique in aeroponic ‘vertical’ farming.
Apart from not requiring pesticides, this method uses a closed water system and no soil – therefore minimising the risk of any pollutants. Furthermore, by supplying people right on the doorstep, the farm will have an exceptionally low carbon footprint.
“Our vision is a city in which flat roofs and abandoned surfaces are covered with these new growing systems,” says Hardy. “Each will contribute directly to feeding urban residents who today represent the bulk of the world’s population.”
For now at least, urban farming seems to be thriving here in all its forms. In fact, the City of Paris has committed to planting 100 hectares of vegetation across the capital by 2020, through its Parisculteurs project, with one third of this devoted to urban agriculture. For example, new for this year, a farming promenade is set to be created beneath the aerial métro line at Barbès.
Among the other imaginative agricultural sites across the city is the eco-farm of La Recyclerie, installed along the old railway line at Porte de Clignancourt, and the organic mushroom operation, La Caverne, located in an underground car park at Porte de La Chapelle. Even the capital’s much-maligned Montparnasse Tower is rumoured to be getting its own growing space.
MORE URBAN FARMING STORIES FROM BRIGHTVIBES
Ron Finley envisions a world where gardening is gangsta, children know their nutrition, and communities embrace the act of growing.
Growing pesticide-free, non-GMO fruit and vegetables in shipping containers in the heart of the city, for a fraction of the usual resources.
A group of volunteers in Orlando is trying to change the way we eat. Owners keep a portion of their produce and the volunteers take the rest to local farmers’ markets and restaurants.
5 Ways to Start a Community Garden
Unfortunately, for many city dwellers, the space to grow an adequate garden just isn’t available within the confines of their living arrangement. A container garden in a tiny apartment can only get you so far, right? A community garden can be the answer to the urban farmer’s woes and provide the added benefit of social interaction. But what exactly does a community garden look like? Where should one begin? Here are some styles of community gardens that might work for you.