Reaching the bottom of the barrel: Coronavirus pandemic batters European wine production


It’s an ancient beverage turned cultural icon, so cherished in France that the legendary Victor Hugo once provocatively wrote: “God made only water – but man made wine”. Aside from being a staple at many family dinner tables, wine is also a massive European industry – and one that’s going through its own coronavirus-induced crisis. This in a sector that was already battling against 25% tariffs imposed by Donald Trump in 2019 that have seen exports slump.

Source: Reaching the bottom of the barrel: Coronavirus pandemic batters European wine production – Talking Europe

Farm on a Paris rooftop: Urban farm aims to be Europe’s largest

The first phase of a vast urban farming project in Paris is now under way following a two-month delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Set on a Paris rooftop, the farm is set to grow over the next two years to become the largest urban farm in Europe.

The farm, on a rooftop of the Paris Exhibition Centre in the south-west of the city, currently covers an area of 4,000m², but those behind the project plan to expand the agricultural space to 14,000m² by 2022.

They hope to be able produce around 1,000kg of fruit and vegetables every day in high season thanks to a team of around 20 farmers while providing a global model for sustainable farming where produce is grown locally and according to the seasons.

“The goal is to locally supply healthy, pesticide-free products to local businesses, company restaurants, and to farming associations in a nearby area,” Agripolis president Pascal Hardy told AFP.

Along with commercial farming, locals are able to rent space on the rooftop to grow their own fruit and veg, while visitors can sample the produce at an on-site restaurant.

The farm is part of what appears to be a growing trend in the French capital to produce and consume food locally, with a number of urban farming projects springing up around the city in recent years, while Paris City Hall has committed to creating 30 hectares of urban farming space in the city in 2020.

“The real trend today is towards quality local products, more so than organic,” said Hardy.

“We’re at the top of the organic wave, but we’re on the way down, and the challenge now is to be able to show how the products were generated, and also to show that they don’t come from the other side of the planet, like beans from Kenya, for example, or from deep in Spain with farming practices that are not very virtuous.”

Source: Farm on a Paris rooftop: Urban farm aims to be Europe’s largest

To ban or not to ban? What future for pesticides and GMOs in the EU?


French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume tells Catherine Nicholson why he believes a transition to lower-chemical farming is essential and how he thinks it can be achieved.

Meanwhile, Green MEP – and organic farmer himself – Benoît Biteau tells us why what he learnt converting his father’s farm to greener practices can be replicated.

In our reports, we meet some of the mayors who have banned pesticides around their towns and find out more about the conflict with the farming community. We also meet French farmers who are testing how to reduce their dependence on chemical pesticides


Source: To ban or not to ban? What future for pesticides and GMOs in the EU? (part 1) – Talking Europe

Urban Farming Flourishes in Paris | urban farming

PARIS—Sidney Delourme gets really passionate when showing pictures of his ambitious project. For now, it is just a huge rooftop in Paris overlooking rails and old towers with the Montmartre hill in the background, but his drawings show plans for green and wooden spaces.The 31-year-old is developing a huge urban farm in the heart of Paris, which is often cited for its lack of green space compared to its large population size. A study by MIT’s Sensible City Lab published in January found that Paris is the least green city among 10 major cities studied.

We were only seven project developers…Today, we can estimate that there are anywhere between 200 to 300 projects under development

People like Delourme want to change that. With his working-partner and co-founder Sarah Msika, they are in the process of securing further funding to turn the rooftop of a former railway site into an innovative urban farm covering 7,000 square meters (1.7 acres).


The duo intend to plant purple basil, chocolate mint, ancient lettuce, and edible flowers in the farm. The facility will have many innovative features, including a greenhouse that gets its heat from a data center located below, hydroponics cultures—a method of growing plants in water rather than in soil—and space for permaculture. Plans are also in place to include a store to sell some of the produce, as well as areas for educational activities [ . . . ]

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