France is experiencing a green renaissance, underscored by the fact that the world’s largest urban farm is to be planted in Paris.
The urban farm will be planted on the flat roof of 14,000 square meter rooftop on top of a cultural complex in the southwest of the city.
According to Fast Company the Parisian rooftop urban farm will be the world’s largest, outgrowing Chicago’s rooftop farm, opened in 2016, which supplies the city with ten million leafy greens per year. The farm will be more efficient in production as plants will be grown vertically in specially designed towers, allowing for higher yields.
In order to keep weight down, the plants won’t be grown in soil but rather fed through a nutrient-filled mist spray, which uses far less water. The company responsible for the venture, Agricool, has decided to keep the farm open air, as opposed to a controlled environment, which can demand more energy for lighting and heating.
The harvest will go to feeding the local community through its food box subscription service and will supply the farm’s rooftop restaurant with more than 30 different plant species. It is hoped that the farm will produce some 1000 kg of fresh fruit and vegetables per day in high season.
The reason Paris is experiencing this boom in rooftop gardens and farms is because the government passed a law in 2015 mandating that every commercial rooftop must be covered with either solar panels or vegetation. Green rooftops are an efficient way to reduce energy consumption as they provide insulation in the winter and keep interiors cool in the summer. A raft of French start-ups have taken the opportunity to create urban farms and garden collectives which produce fruit and vegetables for homes and business all over the country. The city too has grasped the opportunity with both hands with mayor Anne Hidalgo pledging that Paris will have 100 hectares of green walls and roofs by 2020.