Revitalising Paris’ fungi farms
La Caverne is bringing back the Parisienne tradition of underground urban mushroom farming, this time in abandoned parking lots.
Around the world, urban agriculture – farming in cities – is generally practiced on communal gardens, in private backyards, or on idle land, balconies or rooftops. However, there are other abandoned spaces where food can be grown in even larger quantities: underground parking lots. To combat air pollution and excessive traffic, many cities in Europe are promoting cycling and public transportation over cars. This means that the spaces that formally were occupied by motor vehicles are slowly but steadily being freed up for other uses – like growing mushrooms. La Caverne is an underground organic farm in the middle of Paris. The farm grows darkness-loving vegetables and fungi as well as microgreens under LED lights. While it may sound crazy, the idea is nothing new: Parisienne fungi farming blossomed in the 19th century. At the height of the trade, there were approximately 300 mushroom farms occupying the city’s catacombs.