It was at 103-105 boulevard de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement of Paris that the Carrefour Group’s second urban farm was installed. The 800 M2 store run by Cédric Lobo was opened in August 2018. The store was created on the site of a former biscuit factory. As part of a partnership of the Carrefour group with the start-up Agripolis, the terraces (300 M2) of the store were developed by Agripolis. The company headed by Pascal Hardy is specialized in the transformation of roofs or flat surfaces into an urban farm. On the terrace of the Boulevard de Charonne store, two techniques were favoured to grow about fifty varieties of fruits and vegetables. The first, hydroponics, allows tomatoes to grow on a substrate – in this case, glass wool – and in a closed hydraulic system. The second, the aeroplane, used for leaves (salads, spinach, aromatic, strawberries …) favours a column system. The roots develop in the open air column.
Since last week, the first strawberries grown on the terrace of the store are offered for sale at a price of € 3.90 for a tray of 250 grams. “All our trays left very quickly. Our clients followed the progress of our project on social networks. The promise of these strawberries is clear: they are grown without pesticides and are picked at maturity because they are not transported, “enthuses Cédric Lobo.
The production of strawberries but also salads, herbs, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers are maintained by Camille, a young market gardener from Agripolis who, in close collaboration with the head of the store’s fruit and vegetable department, takes care of the harvest.
In a few weeks, Cédric Lobo has the project to open the terrace of the store to customers to show them closely how these fruits and vegetables are grown. “By next year, we hope to grow melons,” says the store manager. From one day to another, production exposed to climatic hazards can vary. “This is the main difficulty, but as long as you explain it, customers are ready to accept it,” says Cédric Lobo.