Urban agriculture: how cities are reconnecting with the soil

In Aubervilliers, Seine-Saint-Denis, the association Espaces undertook to cultivate crops on the roofs of shopping centres. Two years after the first harvests, it has just extended its cultivable area to 1,500 m²...

Urban agriculture passed a milestone in Seine-Saint-Denis on 9 September. The Espaces association, which has been farming on the roof of a shopping centre for three years, has opened a structure that allows it to expand. With the support of the Veolia Foundation, a footbridge has been installed above the inner courtyard of the Fashion Center so that Espaces’ urban farmers can move from one sky terrace to another and develop their business.
The aim of CultiCime is both environmental and social. Since 2016, 29 people on social insertion schemes have been working on the site and developing their urban market gardening skills in accordance with organic farming specifications: board preparation, sowing techniques, crop maintenance and harvesting, produce sales, etc. Some 40 varieties of vegetables, fruit and edible flowers have emerged from the ground. A success that is seen in other places too... Espaces also operates an urban micro-farm in Morangis, in the Essonne region.

Other urban agriculture projects supported by the Veolia Foundation:

  • In the Bouches-du-Rhône, Heko Permaculture has developed an area of unbuilt urban land cleared by the construction of the L2 bypass around Marseille. Called "Le Talus", the program includes urban farming spaces and the creation of eight social inclusion urban market gardening jobs.
  • In Lille, the Lomme wholesale market (MIN) hosts a bio-intensive micro market gardening experiment. Using permaculture methods, it should make it possible to organize new inclusive nurturing ecosystems, from production to consumption with and for the city. The ecological transition is underway.