The crowded streets of eastern Paris are to host Europe’s first “vertical market garden”, with fruit and vegetables to be grown in two greenhouse towers.
Building starts this month on the glass-clad structures, each 26m (86ft) high, set among the housing estates of Romainville, with the opening planned for early next year. Its supporters call it a striking example of urban farming; a trend which is gathering pace in the United States, Japan and Singapore.
Corinne Valls, the mayor of Romainville, fought for seven years to convince local and regional government to subsidise the bulk of the €5 million required to build 1,000 square metres of well illuminated growing space. Critics have decried the scheme as a waste of taxpayers’ money and an expensive gimmick dreamt up by “les bobos parisiens” — the city’s fashionable bourgeois-bohemians.
Space in the greenhouses will be let to farmers who are expected to grow 12 tonnes of vegetables and fruit, as well as four tonnes of mushrooms in the basement; enough to feed 200 families.
The plants will grow in compost material made from local refuse and a third of the required water will come from rainfall. A restaurant is to be built in the basement.
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Photo credit: Ilimelgo Architectes