Urban agriculture is developing in Paris. Many unusual places are home to fruit and vegetable plantations. Today, there are about 20 hectares and 285 tons of fruits, vegetables and herbs produced each year in the French capital.
Since 2016, the startup ‘Sous les Fraises’ grows its products on the “Jardin Perché” (hung garden), a 15,070 square feet surface on the roof of the Marais market (BHV Marais). The company counts 22,000 vertical permaculture plants. Thyme, rosemary, strawberries, raspberries, kiwis, mint are wrapped in small bags made of hemp and sheep wool, on large vertical panels. “Our goal is to install ecosystems, rethink the urban environment to reintegrate nature into our lives,” explains Marie Dehaene, agronomic engineer.
Besides the online grocery shop and a pop-up store, more than 80 chefs from restaurants in Paris get their supplies from the company. “They are delighted to buy edible flowers, fresh plants from a garden next door,” explains Marie.
Underneath an apartment complex at Porte de la Chapelle (18th arrondissement), at level -2 of an underground parking lot, is another organic agricultural production: the Casern. Théophile Champagnat, 29, cofounder of the company Cycloponics at the origin of the Casern, grows mushrooms and endives over a 38,750 square feet area. Here, we produce more than 2 tons of endives per week. Our goal is to produce closer to the consumer, to give a second life to those places and to show that we can grow ecologically and productively in cities as well,” explains Théophile Champagnat. Nearly 1,500 lbs of mushrooms are sold each week by the Casern to local grocery shops, restaurants, and to the Amaps (associations supporting small farming) of Paris.