33 teams have been selected by the City of Paris for the Parisculteurs project, which aims to use rooftops and car parks in the capital for vegetable, fish and hops farming. Among those selected are landscapers, farmers, architects, associations and start-ups. 13 of the locations are being made available by the City of Paris and 20 by partners (social housing, RATP- public transport operator, private companies…).
Whilst all of the projects have agroecology in common, they also each show a huge variety in farming techniques including : aquaponics, aeroponics, permaculture, growing in pots, mushroom hydroponic. Assistant to the Mayor and in charge of green spaces, Pénélope Komitès, says that “They are concrete responses to the climate and food double challenge that towns and metropolises are faced with”.
The 5.5 hectares of farmed plots will help to collect rainwater and reduce urban heat islands. Production will be aimed at short supply circuits, such as local markets and/or restaurants, sold in baskets to locals, or even picked directly by them. In total, 425 tons of fruit and vegetables, 24 tons of mushrooms, 3 tons of fish, 95kg of honey and 8,000 litres of beet will be produced annually and delivered in Paris.
The first farms will be set up at the beginning of 2017, but the City of Paris is already aiming to reach 100 hectares of farmed plots by 2020 and getting ready to launch Parisculteurs 2. Pénélope Komitès is confident that these 33 project winners will “give desire and boldness” to other partners to suggest farms, and to entrepreneurs to launch new projects.
La Brize de la Bastille
The most majestic project is undoubtedly “La Brize de la Bastille”. The Bastille Opera has made their 5,000m2 of rooftop terraces, which need to have the waterproofing redone, available to Topager, an urban agriculture company. Topager already has many urban agricultural farms and they have partnered with waterproofing company, Axe Etanchéité. They have come up with the idea of a 2,500m2 farm producing fruit, vegetables and edible flowers on the floor, and hops growing up the 600m2 facade of the terrace. They have also planned to install an artisanal microbrewery near the site.
The farm will use compost produced locally with waste from the brewery as well as from cafés and neighbouring restaurants. La Brize de la Bastille intends to make partnerships with local restaurants, offering them a system to deliver baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables. Frédéric Madre, Ecological Engineer and co-founder of Topager says that “The aim is to offer seasonal produce, picked at maturity and delivered on the day by bicycle”. The farm aims to produce and distribute 5.5 tons of aromatic plants, small fruits, young plants and ultra-fresh vegetables per year, as well as 500kg of hops.
The Green’Elle project will produce vegetables and freshwater fish in aquaponic greenhouses in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, on the site of the unused Grenelle Reservoir, which has been made available to them by the Paris water management company, les Eaux de Paris. Aquaponics is a production system that combines aquaculture and out of soil farming (hydroponics), in a closed circuit. Cécile Roux explains that in her project, “we will use no artificial fertiliser: the plants will be fertilised by the fish waste”. She explains that hydroponics in a closed circuit allows them to save on 90% of water compared to conventional growing.
The two 1,000m2 basins in the reservoir will be emptied to develop the 1,500m2 greenhouse hydroponic plots and 7 aquaculture basins. Cécile Roux hopes to increase the consumption of freshwater fish in Paris and explains that whilst the fish allow the system to work, they will also be edible. She aims for production to reach 3 tons of fish and 30 tons of seasonal fruit and vegetables per year. The produce will be sold in the local market, 50 metres from the reservoir, as well as in baskets via a subscription for locals, via a website and to restaurants.
The City of Paris also selected an underground urban agricultural project, La Caverne. This project will be on the -2 level of the carpark of a social housing building in the 18th arrondissement. The 2,900m2 farm will develop three production methods : growing mushrooms on coffee grounds (recycled from the region), vertically growing micro-shoots and growing vegetables on compost under LED lights. This is a first in Europe.
Jean-Noel Gertz, who has turned from Climate Engineering to Agronomics Engineering, says that “We will use LEDs, but our crops will be completely organic, using compost with no added chemicals from the Paris region.” He has insisted that “We are trying to limit our logistics costs to a maximum and nothing will be robotised, it will all be done by hand”. La Caverne will sell their produce to people living in the building and locals. They expect production to reach 30 tons of fruit annually and 24 tons of mushrooms. SaveSave