PARIS HAS A NEW UNDERGROUND – A MASSIVE FARM FOR MUSHROOMS AND VEGGIES
La Caverne is a unique urban farm that grows mushrooms, herbs and greens beneath the streets of Paris. Located in La Chapelle neighborhood in north-central Paris, La Caverne is owned and operated by Cycloponics, a Paris-based indoor farming start-up that has focused on growing sustainable, local food and boosting local economies.
“We want to promote a new model of urban agriculture: at the same productive and virtuous,” said Cycloponics in a statement. “We also aim at creating new ways of producing, at restoring the profession of farmer, often poorly understood, at creating local jobs…, and eventually offer to the urban citizens a local and tasty production.”
La Caverne, a 37,700-square-foot underground farm, is located in a previously abandoned parking garage below a 300-unit affordable housing complex. The ten-member team works together to maintain hydroponics systems used to grow vegetables, ensure the optimum growth of the farm’s mushroom crop, and sell these products at market.
The farm’s shiitake and oyster mushrooms are grown on composted manure bricks while the vegetables thrive without soil. The farmers at La Caverne also harvest chicory, a root often used in coffee, which does not need sunlight to grow. The team aims to ultimately produce 54 tons of vegetables and mushrooms per year.
La Caverne’s unusual location is a reflection of Cycloponics’ philosophy, which emphasizes reusing and conserving resources. “The idea is to cultivate, within the same space, different species of vegetables that interact in a positive way,” said Cycloponics in a statement. “For instance: the CO2 generated by the mushrooms is used by the microgreens to grow up, the natural materials are composted for our cultivations… Those methods are widely inspired by permaculture!”
The company hopes to expand its distribution network through its own fleet of electric bicycles and vehicles, for which it is currently in need of funding. As Cycloponics’ grows, it may inspire similar farmers to dig deep, get underground, and grow only the best.