In Paris, as in many European cities, the number of cars is declining. This leaves a vast amount of underground car parks empty. With its start-up project called “La Caverne”, Cycloponics is reclaiming these urban territories and using them as a way of growing plenty of organic vegetables.
Although growing 200 kilos of organic vegetables every day to deliver to local grocery stores within Paris would seem like quite a challenge, Jean-Noël Gertz and Théo Champagnat have already taken it upon themselves since 2017. At Porte de la Chapelle in Paris, the two have set up a 3,500 m2 urban farm located underground, in a former car park.
But it was in Strasbourg that the young man first had the idea of using underground facilities. “There are bunkers everywhere. I started with a 150 m2 room there. But the people of Strasbourg were a bit reluctant to give up their car parks,” explained Jean-Noël Gertz, one of the two founders of Cycloponics.
Gertz and Champagnat, therefore, responded to call for tenders from Paris, whose empty car parks were squatted by consumers and crack dealers. It’s been more than two years now since ‘organic has replaced crack’, and about fifteen jobs have been created.