In the heart of Paris, the start-up Cycloponics is turning an abandoned parking lot into an urban farm where mushrooms are grown.
Cultivate abandoned spaces
How can food production be brought closer to consumers in urban areas, where there is a lack of agricultural land? The company Cycloponics, specialized in urban agriculture, transforms industrial wastelands into arable land. One of its favourite targets is underground: abandoned parking lots. In an overall context of a decreasing number of cars in the city, the occupancy rate of parking lots is declining year after year. In Paris, 96 hectares of parking spaces are available for reallocation.
Here in the north of Paris, Cycloponics has invested in a disused SNCF parking lot to set up La Caverne, an urban farm where endives and mushroom are grown. In the second basement, 3,500 m2 are now dedicated to the cultivation of shiitake, oyster mushrooms and endives.
Producing organic vegetables in the city
The parking lot is the perfect place to guarantee the autumn weather conditions all year round: freshness, humidity and darkness are essential for growing endives and mushrooms. These two products are the only ones that can be grown out of the ground and still be eligible for the "organic" certification. All the production of La Caverne is therefore organic. It amounts to 60 tons of endives and 25 tons of mushrooms per year, and supplies markets, vegetable baskets, organic cooperatives and restaurants in Paris. Cycloponics is developing its activities and has other urban farms in Strasbourg and Bordeaux.