(Image credit: Parisculteurs)
Farming in Paris, a practice with a long history
Agriculture has always been present in the Ile-de-France region. Since the second half of the 19th century, farmers have set out to develop agriculture in the city, and have adapted to its constraints, for example with the famous walls of peaches in Montreuil. The development of vegetable farms on the outskirts of Paris even led the Ile-de-France region to be called “The Plain of Virtues”.
Over the years however, hygiene-weary urban planning policies gradually relegated farming to the outskirts of the city. Today, its comeback is taking new forms that fall under the umbrella term of urban agriculture.
The benefits of urban agriculture
Urban agriculture or urban farming encompasses all agricultural and animal husbandry activities taking place in or around cities.
Introducing agricultural projects in cities supports the development of a sustainable and resilient urban model in a multitude of ways. These include shortening food supply chains, strengthening community ties, building awareness around healthy eating, contributing to food security, providing ecological services like storm water management, fostering biodiversity, mitigating heat islands and enhancing energy efficiency in the built environment.
Urban agriculture in Paris
In 2016, the City of Paris created the Parisculteurs program to facilitate and accelerate the installation of agricultural projects in Paris. The idea is to find sites – rooftops, walls, parking lots, open lots – and to give farmers the opportunity to establish their production in Paris.
Parisculteurs leverages a collaborative approach through partnerships, with the aim of finding sites across Paris, and recently the broader metropolitan area. The “100 hectares” charter currently has 82 endorsing partners committed to urban greening and the development of urban agriculture. Many of them have offered sites for the Parisculteurs public tenders.
Public tenders for Parisculteurs consist in identifying and enlisting sites, on land owned by the City of Paris or its partners and make them available for agricultural projects carried by third-party organizations (non-profits, companies, start-ups, etc.). This approach allows for the establishment of a great variety of projects, both in terms of their aims (productive, recreational, participatory) and cultivation methods (greenhouse, open ground, underground, etc.).
Since the creation of Parisculteurs, more than 50 projects have seen the light and just as many are under development. Paris now has more than 30 hectares of agricultural land within city limits and is becoming a leader in this field.
In addition to establishing and supporting projects, Parisculteurs also carries out an outreach and communication strategy aimed at landowners, established or future urban farmers, and the general public, in order to raise awareness and provide training opportunities (e.g., workshops on urban agriculture, urban farmer toolbox).
In order to encourage residents’ engagement with contemporary agricultural issues and promote urban greening, the City of Paris actively supports urban agriculture through a variety of other initiatives:
- Implementation of a sustainable food program to reconnect Parisians with local products respectful of the environment
- Creation and access to community gardens
- Educational farms, including the Ferme de Paris (municipal farm)
- Creation of vegetable gardens and orchards in schools
- Development and maintenance of the Paris vineyards
- Creation of greening permits and the Végétalisons Paris platform
- The Breuil horticultural school that trains future urban farmers, among others
Find out more about the Parisculteurs program: https://www.parisculteurs.paris/en/
If you’d like to discuss further with the Parisian administration, you can contact David Lacroix firstname.lastname@example.org
Amid rising food demand and prices, cities must take urgent action to reduce and repurpose food waste to provide food security for their residents while simultaneously achieving economic opportunities and emission reduction. The Urban Eats campaign is mobilizing cities towards a more circular and resilient food system by: 1) creating value out of food waste, 2) redistributing excess food, 3) producing more locally, 4) promoting food habit change among city residents and businesses, and 5) strengthening collaboration across the whole food value chain. Through the sharing of city stories such as Paris’ initiative to produce more locally, we hope to help you consider simple yet diverse ways to manage food waste in your city. Want to inspire other cities with your story? Get in touch with email@example.com.