An underground parking garage may seem like a strange place to grow food, but the start-up Cycloponics has installed a farm in the second basement of a car park in Paris, Porte de la Chapelle. “The Cave”, as this farm is called, grows organic crops including mushrooms, micro-shoots and shortly endives.
Olivier is one of the gardeners. Previously a statistician, today he waters and nurtures his mushrooms before picking them and packing them in a crate. Where earlier cars stood, now there are Oyster mushrooms and Shiitake.
The first basement is still an operational parking, but the farm is well insulated. To remove all doubt about pollutants, the start-up had its fungi and micro-shoots analyzed for metal residues and bacteria. “The results were negative,” says Caroline, head of Research and Development, so they are safe to eat.
“We have black radish, purple radish, leeks, mustard — in all twelve varieties of micro-shoots that can be eaten in salad,” she says.
The start up is also planning to mass produce. Eventually, it plans to harvest 80 tons of mushrooms a year, 200 tons of chicory and several hundred kilograms of leafy vegetables a year. This produce will be sold in local organic markets, and also in some organic grocery stores.