Urban roof farming in Paris
The brand new building in Paris’ 15th arrondissement is used for exhibitions and conventions all year long. Those who visit the site however, will be completely unaware of what is happening right above them. There are plants slowly bearing fruit. On top of pavilion 6 of the Paris Expo, vegetables and fruit are grown on a scale that is impressive. Strawberries, tomatoes and 33 other varieties of vegetables and fruit are grown here. And large it is too, all 14.000 square meters of it, the equivalent of 2 football fields.
It will be Europe's largest aeroponics farm when the entire space is optimised for farming. Aeroponics is a technique where the roots of the plants are not grown in soil but in the open air in closed vertical columns. Water combined with a nutrient solution is passed through these cylinders, reducing water spillage to a minimum and recycling 90% of it. One vertical column can contain 52 plants and to be able to cultivate the same amount of plants on the ground would require considerably more space and resources.
The farm known as “Nature Urbaine” is the brain child of Pascal Hardy, president of Agropolis, an agricultural consultancy firm. Hardy, emphasises that the roof farms wil not be able to completely feed the entire Parisian population but estimates that it could take a market share of 5 to 10%. Apart from growing produce, Mr Hardy sees the concept as a way to educate the public and the need to produce locally without pesticides.
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