But now the largest arrondissement of Paris scores with a new highlight: The Nature Urbaine, the largest rooftop farm in Europe on the roof of the Paris exhibition center at the Porte de Versailles. In the future, up to three tons of fruit and vegetables are to be harvested on an area of 15,000 square meters, the area of about two football pitches. The figure is already 200 kilograms per day. These are delivered to the townspeople, neighboring supermarkets, neighboring hotels, canteens or restaurants. Like Le Perchoir, which shares the roof terrace with the farm.
Not only the aromatic strawberries with shiso herbs, which are served here as dessert, can be watched from the table as they grow: the tomatoes, aubergines, lettuce, melons and cucumbers too. Most of the plants do not grow horizontally here, but in futuristic pillars that rise into the sky like oversized spines. The planting columns, developed in France, work with the aeroponic technique, in which the roots are suspended in the air and are constantly sprayed with a nutrient solution. “In this way we manage without pesticides and with only 10% of the usual water consumption,” explains Sophie Hardy, the director of Nature Urbaine.
Vertical farming is the name of the promising concept that is now taking root worldwide and, according to many studies, has what it takes to replace the organic trend in the food industry. Here in Paris, you can not only see it up close and learn to understand it in guided tours, you can also become a gardener yourself: 156 roof plots are also rented out to private individuals for a year: these "Allotments 2.0." have been popular since the start of "Nature Urbaine” gone like hot cakes.
The pandemic, with its disrupted supply chains and partly empty supermarket shelves, on the one hand, and the climate debate on the other, have prepared the ground for ideas that ten years ago were laughed at as crazy. "Our idea of bringing the farm into the city, offering fresh and healthy food with short supply chains and making a contribution to more climate neutrality and biodiversity suddenly makes sense to everyone," says Sophie Hardy. For me, the Nature Urbaine and the Le Perchoir restaurant are definitely the insider tip of this summer. Almost nowhere else can you find so much foresight, peace, sun and greenery.