Although Paris is the most densely populated city in Europe, over the past few years the city has seen an impressive spurt of innovative farming and gardening initiatives. And with unforeseen events like the Coronavirus in full swing, it’s never been more important to find more self-reliant food-growing method systems, especially in urban environments. Urban farms are already becoming more and more popular in the French capital but are about to take a big leap forward with the opening of what will become the world’s largest urban farm. The farm is scheduled to open very soon on the rooftop of the Porte de Versailles exhibition complex. Let’s hope they can stay on schedule as extra food will definitely be needed these days.
Paris’s modern greenification has been instigated by both government initiatives and grassroots community projects. Internationally, Paris put itself on the world eco-friendly map thanks to its organization of the 2016 Paris Agreement for Climate Change.
However, some progress had already been made on the national level with the introduction of a 2015 bill requiring all new commercial roofs to be covered with either solar panels or vegetation.
Perhaps it was the Beaugrenelle shopping mall that helped spark this, with the development of a 7,000 m² (75,000 sq. foot) meadow on its roof in 2014. Albeit somewhat controversial, the Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has been at the forefront of similar green initiatives and pledged 100 hectares of green roofs and walls across the city by the end of 2020 through the project Parisculteurs.
At a sprawling 14,000 m² (150,695 sq feet), this new farm, created by Agripolis, will also be Europe’s largest rooftop green space. Using innovative agricultural techniques, including aeroponic “vertical” farming, it will grow over 30 organic plant species, tended to by 20 gardeners and yielding 1,000 kg in fruits and vegetables.
Visitors will be able to sample its produce at its on-site restaurant and bar, fittingly managed by Le Perchoir, known for its innovative rooftop bars. There will also be educational programs and plots which residents can lease to do their own gardening.
Additionally, there are a few rooftop gardens open to the public like the one at squat La Générale, or on the rooftop of Le Relais, run by Merci Raymond, a startup that promotes urban gardening and agriculture.
Citizens and innovative entrepreneurs are also getting involved in urban farming. The hip La Recyclerie has planted a garden along the tracks of the old Petite Ceinture railway. In various farm-to-table restaurants around the city you can find mushrooms and endives grown underground in Paris by La Caverne.
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Written by Lily Heise for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.