An old parking lot converted into a farm of the future? This is the ambitious project of the Fuyet brothers, who have just installed their Champerché urban farm in an underground parking lot in Sartrouville, France. Nearly 150 varieties of fruit and vegetables are grown there, above ground, in biopony, on a surface of 1,300 m2. The aim of this giant agricultural laboratory is to contribute to achieving food autonomy.
It took a year of work to rehabilitate this former parking lot of 1,300 m2, in Sartrouville (Yvelines). In January 2022, the Champerché urban farm officially moved into this atypical place to carry out its mission: to grow fruits and vegetables in bioponics. This method refers to a soilless culture, on an inert substrate, of plants that will benefit from nutritive contributions via a solution of water and mineral salts administered drop by drop. The water is then recovered and reused in a closed circuit thanks to gutters.
Deserted for a decade, the parking lot invested by the agritech now has a futuristic look. Hundreds of plants grow on columns, where they are lit by low-energy LEDs. "We are the only ones in the world to industrialize bioponics, with 216 times more yield than in open field cultivation," says Antoine Fuyet, the creator of the Champerché farm.
In addition to producing quantities of fruits and vegetables at a steady and continuous pace, this new urban farm also serves as a giant agricultural laboratory. No less than 78 different parameters, relating to light, fertilizer or climate, are tested on the crops to find optimal combinations for each product. The urban agriculture company is also working on ways to reduce its energy consumption. "Our vision is food autonomy throughout the world, on a local scale, with prices accessible to all and the lowest possible environmental impact," says AntoineFuyet.