Paris is to house the world’s largest urban farm when a 150,000-square-foot rooftop garden, pioneering its own technique in aeroponic “vertical” farming, opens next year.
The farm, located in the 15th arrondissement where it will occupy the rooftop of an exhibition complex, will grow more than 2,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables every day during high season.
Equivalent to the size of about two football pitches, the farm will be home to more than 30 different species of plants tended to by around 20 gardeners. Fresh fruit and vegetables 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.
Though the produce will be grown using organic principles, it cannot be labelled as such because it’s not grown in the ground – a necessity for an organic label under French regulations.
Agripolis, the French company behind the project, specialise in turning unused roofs and flat surfaces into urban farming spaces. It has been involved in a number of rooftop projects across Paris including an urban vegetable garden on the rooftop of French catering company, Sodexo’s headquartes in Issy-les-Moulineaux, and an urban farm on the roof of the Cour des Lions pool in the 11th arrondissement.
Pascal Hardy, founder of Agripolis, told The Guardian: “The goal is to make the farm a globally-recognised model for sustainable production. We’ll be using quality products, grown in rhythm with nature’s cycles, all in the heart of Paris. Furthermore, we won’t be using any pesticides or chemicals, so the farm will be a haven for biodiversity.”
The farm, which will open next spring, will also have its own on-site restaurant and bar with capacity for around 300 people. It will also offer a range of services related to urban agriculture, including educational tours, team-building workshops and special events.
Agripolis hope that the farm will also help reduce “food miles” by directly producing veg-boxes and supplying local hotels and restaurants. Local residents will also be given the option to lease specially-devised wooden crates on the site that will function as allotments.
The Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has been on a mission to make Paris a greener city since being elected in 2014. The city and its partners aim 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.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com