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News - The new urban farmers

Community gardening, rooftop greenhouses, permacultureº more than just a lifestyle, urban farming is sowing the seeds of sustainable change in our rapport with nature. Eco-innovative projects are sprouting everywhere as a global generation of urban gentleman farmers gains ground.

Those days are long gone when the worlds of the consumer and the producer, the city dweller and its rural counterpart might be thought of as two separate entities. In today’s world, 1 out of 9 practices urban farming, which adds up to the 800 million gardening enthusiastic city dwellers. And about time, that is! Because in 10 years, 1 out of every 2 people will be living in a city. Which means that we need solutions to counteract – or, should we say outgrow – issues such as traffic congestion, increasing greenhouse gases levels and over exploitation in agricultural areas.

From Kinshasa to Paris
According to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), urban farming plots – also called potager or kitchen gardens – produce 15 times more efficiently than rural holdings. An area of one square meter can provide 20 kg of food a year. Urban vegetable growers spend less on transport, packaging and storage, which reduces the so-called food miles – the distance covered from producer to consumer. A flourishing example of a newly green city is Kinshasa. In the 10 M Congolese capital, urban farmers have produced 330 000 tons of amaranth, cabbage and tomatoes locally, showing an impressive 122% increase in just 5 years.

Traditionally, the lack of building-free space in the city constitutes a major obstacle to farming. In this respect, the concept of an urban potager is ideal for cultivating the many spots of wasted space and on top of buildings. Speaking of which, the vertical plane is where gardening enthusiasm has found an apt platform for the true transformation towards urban farming. Once we start to see kilometer after kilometer of concrete rooftops burgeoning here and there in a big city. This is the case of the imposing organic garden on top of the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel. The project was launched in March 2014 upon the initiative of the hotel’s Executive Director, René Angoujard. Young startup Topager, which specializes in urban farming and biodiversity, created it as a unique concept in the spirit of sustainable development and social responsibility. As a result, these 650 green m2 of asphalt, feature a potager garden, but also an orchard, two composters processing 6 tons of organic waste, as well as a henhouse and four beehives, which have already produced 170 kg of honey in 2015. Straight from the restaurant roof to the guest’s dinner plate, this Parisian rooftop farm is now able to supply the Frame, Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel’s brasserie, with honey, eggs, and, not least, a half ton of 100% biodynamically grown fruits and vegetables. Paris is not the only city to cultivate its gaps and roofs by means of urban potagers. For instance, the oyster of the Pullman Tangshan grounds in the East China province of Hebei holds a true pearl; namely the aptly named “happy herb garden,” whose crops furnish the chef’s mouthwatering, aromatic dishes. The Pullman Danang Beach Resort in Vietnam also has a green thumb. In its signature restaurant Epice, clients can dine overlooking the four-year-old potager garden.

Discover more about Urban Farming in the Pullman Magazine, available at every Pullman Hotels & Resorts, or on AccorPressReader, the digital press service for Accor Guests.

Text Yassir Guelzim

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