FREEDOM AND SAFETY
Europe’s most densely populated city is growing. But we’re not talking about people here: it’s growing fruit and vegetables.
At the edge of the French capital, an urban farm is being built that will supply residents with a tonne of food a day. Currently being renovated, the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles is set to become home to the world’s largest urban rooftop farm next year.
The 14,000 m² of space – equivalent to about two football pitches – will be loaded with around 30 different types of plant. They’ll 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.
Visitors will be able to purchase produce as well as sample it in the rooftop restaurant. The farm will also host educational tours and various events. And citizens will also be able to rent space to grow their own crops.
Urban farming is a growing trend – in fact Agripolis, the company behind the farm, already runs other rooftop farms around France. Founder Pascal Hardy wants more urban spaces to take up the mantle: “Our vision is a city in which flat roofs and abandoned surfaces are covered with these new growing systems. Each will contribute directly to feeding urban residents who today represent the bulk of the world’s population,” he told The Guardian newspaper.
Since being elected in 2014, the city's Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been on a mission to make Paris a greener city. The French government’s Parisculteurs initiative aims 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.