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City and Countryside Become One in Paris

City and Countryside Become One in Paris

In the south of Paris, a new local food initiative is paving the road for sustainable and local food production in Europe. The ‘Ferme de l’Envol’ is a 75-hectare agro-ecological farm supported by French investments for more than 3 million euros, which is being created in the South of Paris. It will eventually employ 13 people and, inspired by permacultural principles, eight new houses for the farmers will be built.

Mobilising all planning and economic development stakeholders of the territory, the ‘Ferme de l’Envol’ is to be both an experimental laboratory for new environmentally friendly technical practices and a real farm producing healthy food. To ensure its success, the farm creates an ecosystem comprising organic and agro-ecological farmers, public stakeholders such as ‘Coeur d’Essonne’ (conurbation authority of 200 000 inhabitants) or the water syndicate, key stakeholders of processing and distribution, restaurants, start-ups, citizens, and researchers.

The farm will include several activities: production and sale of organic fruits and vegetables (market gardening and orchard), poultry farming with an eye on animal welfare as well as a cereal/bakery activity. The farm has been ‘eco-conceived’ from the beginning, using the latest innovations in terms of environmental protection and zero waste approach. The farmers will be housed on-site with gravity rainwater recovery from nearby firms’ roofs. The material question is taken into account as well for the smallest negative impact possible on the environment. Composting and waste management are also included with a view to using as much as possible circular economy. Logistic is also included in the management to make this farm replicable and exemplar to other farmers.

Moreover, farmers’ status is asserted with a just and guaranteed revenue, a fair social protection and the implication in the farm governance. The farm’s innovative juridical status is a SCIC (Collective Interest Cooperative Society) and its corporate structure has to be diverse and the farm is managed by public bodies, economic stakeholders, local associations and citizens.

Author: Véronique Saint-Ges & Agnès Lelièvre, AgroParisTech

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