Paris’s Mushrooms to get a new underground home

paris mushrooms

A little over a week ago BBC News reported that Paris, France is looking to do something different with their unused underground garages. Paris mushrooms and veg will replace cars and vans, thanks to the creative farmers of Cycloponics.

The Garages

Back in the 1960s and 1970s Paris built a myriad of underground parking garages. These spaces have become increasingly abandoned as cars continue to fall out of favor. But companies like La Caverne Underground Farm are reclaiming those spaces and putting them to good use.

La Caverne

Owned and operated by Cycloponics, La Caverne grows mushrooms, herbs, and greens underneath the city of Paris. A Paris-based startup, Cycloponics has focused on boosting the economy through sustainable growth.

“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 the farmer, often poorly understood, at creating local jobs…, and eventually offer to the urban citizens a local and tasty production.”

How they are doing it

The ten-member team that operates La Caverne, works together to maintain hydroponic systems that they use to grow vegetables, maintain the farm’s mushroom operation, and sell their harvest at the local markets. The farm uses composted manure bricks to grow oyster, button, and shiitake mushrooms, while the vegetables grown on the hydroponic systems don’t need soil to grow. Currently, they are also growing chicory root, which doesn’t need sunlight to grow. Ultimately they are hoping to grow 54 tons of vegetables and mushrooms a year.

paris mushrooms
Image courtesy of Inhabitat

Why the Underground?

“La Caverne’s unusual location is a reflection of Cycloponics’ philosophy, which emphasizes reusing and conserving resources,” says source Inhabitiat.

“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!”

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