Paris to turn a third of its green space into urban farms

Paris to turn a third of its green space into urban farms

Updated 4th April 2018
Located next to the café, the urban farm is cover 1,000 square meters (about 10,760 square feet), and features more than 150 herbs and crops, as well as beehives and animals. Credit: Simon Lemarchand
Agro-Main-Villa, designed by Paris-based design collective ABF-lab, is a food-farm tower that plans to maximise urban farming by optimising solar exposure. Credit: Courtesy of ABF-lab
Architect Vincent Callebaut proposed a self-sustaining urban garden towers titled 'Hyperions' for India's Jaypee Greens Sports City in New Delhi. Credit: Courtesy Vincent Callebaut Architectures
Lufa Farms is believed to have built the world's first commercial farm on a rooftop. It has several farms in Canada located in central urban areas, reducing produce distribution times. This farm harvests crops at night to offer same-day delivery for customers. Credit: Lufa Farms
This Boston lettuce is grown at the 63,000 square feet farm in Anjou, which opened in 2017. The farm also has an online market. Credit: Lufa Farms
Chinese Cabbage and lettuce are planted on this nine-meter tall, A-shape aluminum frame. The tower uses a vertical farming system to reduce the use of water and energy. Credit: CNN
PVC pipes are used in this urban farm to help achieve a zero-waste by collecting excess water that can be recycled. This system was introduced by a farm in 2017, and can now be seen in Singapore, Malaysia and China. Credit: Citiponics Pte Ltd
Based in Brooklyn, New York City, Square Roots grows food in shipping containers placed in a parking lot. Credit: Square Roots
Farmers selected by an entrepreneur program have 13 months to grow genetically modified organism-free vegetables in the 320 square foot containers. Credit: Square Roots
Located at the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, this massive 1.5 acre rooftop farm was built in 2012. Credit: Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm
An urban-style ranch is located on the 13th floor of the Tokyo-based recruitment company Pasona Group. Animals such as cows and goats are being raised to enter the dairy industry. Credit: Pasona Group Inc
As part of the Tokyo redevelopment project, this famous building complex now has a rooftop garden that grows rice amongst other things. Credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images
In an underground tunnel in Clapham, that was originally built as an air-raid shelter during World War II, micro greens and salad leaves are gown all year round by urban farmers. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Half of this building owned by Swedish architecture firm Plantagon will be used as an urban greenhouse. Credit: Illustration by Sweco/Plantagon
The $40 million building will be completed in 2020, complete with a hydroponic farming system, which uses mineral nutrient solutions in water rather than soil. Credit: Illustration by Sweco/Plantagon
To help low-income families start micro-urban gardens in Egypt, this company provides technical training and supplies to urban farmers. Credit: ehab/Schaduf farm
Managed by social enterprise, Rooftop Republic Urban Farming, this urban farm is located on the rooftop of a commercial building in the heart of Hong Kong. The farm regularly donates its organic harvest to a local food bank. Credit: Sarah Thrower
Since 2016, this farm has planted over 50 varieties of vegetables and herbs on the rooftop of Cathay Pacific City. The farm was set up to give the airline's staff the opportunity to grow food close to their office. Credit: Rooftop Republic Urban Farming
La Chambeaudie Farm is located on the 500 square meter (5,380 square foot) roof of a medical center owned by Paris Metro (RATP) in the 12th arrondissement -- a district in the east of Paris on the right bank of the River Seine. Credit: Aéromate
Written by Katy Wong, CNN
France's famously beautiful capital is not a place you'd expect to find chickens, beehives and rows of neatly planted cabbages -- but urban farming is flourishing in Paris.
It all started when the city's mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who was elected in 2014, declared her intention to make Paris a greener city. The Paris government responded to her call in 2016 by launching Parisculteurs, a project which aims to cover the city's rooftops and walls with 100 hectares (247 acres) of vegetation by 2020. One third of the green space, according to its plan, should be dedicated to urban farming.
So far, 74 companies and public institutions have signed a charter to partner with the city in developing urban agriculture.
"Paris not only intends to produce fruit and vegetables but also (plans to) invent a new urban model ... Citizens want new ways to get involved in the city's invention and be the gardeners," says Penelope Komites, deputy mayor of Paris, who is in charge of the city's parks and green spaces.
"Three years ago, people laughed at my plan. Today, citizens are producing (produce) on roofs and in basements. We are also asked by numerous cities around the world to present the Parisian approach."

Farm to plate

Located a 20-minute drive from the Eiffel Tower, next to the Porte de Clignancourt metro station, in 2014, La REcyclerie built one of the biggest urban farms in the city -- before Paris had even started its project.
This cozy café in a converted former train station is at the heart of a 1,000 square meter (about 10,760 square feet) farm. It produces over 150 different herbs and crops, such as peas and potatoes, all of which are used in the café. Chickens eat any leftovers, while a flock of ducks roams the vegetable garden feasting on slugs.
At La REcyclerie, crops harvested from the urban farm are used in the café. Credit: Simon Lemarchand
The farm is perhaps best known for its three beehives. La REcyclerie has partnered with beekepper Volkan Tanaci, founder of CityBzz honey -- to maintain and set up the beehives. The CityBzz honey scooped a silver medal in the 2017 World Beekeeping Awards, granted by the International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations, and took home gold at the first honey contest hosted by the Metropolis of Greater Paris.
"It's incredible that our urban honey is better than the rural one, but that's because we don't use any pesticide in our flowers and plants," says Marion Bacahut, head of programming at La REcyclerie. "We want to show people it's possible to farm in an urban environment and it is easy to live in an eco-friendly way. We are playing a big role in making the city greener."

High-rise farming

Since the Parisculteurs project launched in 2016, 75 projects have been approved by the city of Paris, covering 15 hectares of spaces. The projects will create more than 500 tons of produce.
La Chambeaudie Farm, run by agriculture start-up Aéromate, is located on the 500 square meter (5,380 square foot) roof of a medical center owned by Paris Metro (RATP) in the 12th arrondissement -- a district in the east of Paris on the right bank of the River Seine.
Michel Desportes and Louise Doulliet, the co-founders of Aéromate who are both in their 20s, submitted a proposal to the City of Paris when Parisculteurs launched. Their application to lease the rooftop from RATP, with a contract between the two parties in place, was approved after six months.
By using a hydroponic system on rooftops, it can reduce harmful emissions in the cities and produce higher yields with less water consumption. Credit: BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Théo Manesse, the business development manager of Aeromate, says becoming an urban farmer hasn't been easy, due to the level of government oversight required. "In France, every detail must be managed -- you have to do things perfectly." But he adds: "It's complicated and challenging, but really fun."
Today, La Chambeaudie grows more than 40 varieties of plants and herbs, which are sold to restaurants and grocery stores. The farm uses a hydroponic system, which grows plants in water enriched with nutrients, rather than soil -- the water can be recycled to reduce waste.
Aeromate recently set up a second farm on the rooftop of Tishman Speyer, a real estate group, at Place de La Bourse in central Paris, and plans to establish a third farm at The Duperré School of Applied Arts, a public college of art and design.

Making a living through urban farming

Komites says urban agriculture will not only improve Paris aesthetically and environmentally -- it will also provide employment opportunities. Season one of the Parisculteurs scheme, she says, "has created 120 full-time jobs." Aeromate's three staff work fulltime on their farming projects, and Manesse says he expects La Chambeaudie to become profitable this year. "We are creating jobs and just want to keep growing."
La REcyclerie is hoping to show citizens in Paris that it is possible to farm in an urban area. Credit: Simon Lemarchand
At La REcyclerie, the majority of income is earned by the café. "We welcome 600 people every day," says Bacahut, adding that the café will open greenhouses this spring, which will be used for farming workshops.
Today, Paris counts about 15 hectares (37 acres) of urban agriculture. To reach its goal of 30 hectares before 2020 is a challenge. But there are plenty of projects in the works.
In 2019, the Chapel international project will open a 7,061 square meter (about 76,000 square feet) farm, that it says will be the largest cultivated rooftop in Paris. Its produce will be distributed by Franprix, a grocery store chain in Paris.
"We've seen a real craze among Parisians to participate in making the city more green," says Komites. "Urban agriculture is a real opportunity for Paris. It contributes to the biodiversity and to the fight against climate change."
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