Prioritising soil-based growing

La Cité Maraîchère de Romainville

Conversations and pilot projects related to food growing in urban areas are frequently becoming disconnected from the soil rather than encouraging reconnection with it. Take La Cité Maraîchère for example, a vertical farming project in Romainville, Paris. A project of five million euros, of which 2.5 million of state funding. In itself a noteworthy project, but one that becomes problematic when it is used as an excuse for the ongoing destruction of remaining historical soils in urban fringes and beyond. There is a disproportionate attention paid to vertical agriculture and roof gardens in contemporary urban agriculture debates. These often depend on soil extraction elsewhere, or remove soil from the process entirely in the case of high tech ‘solutions’ such as hydroponics. Imagine what would be possible if this type of funding would be redirected towards the development of soil-based growing, for example enabling access to land and resources and nurturing new solidarities and new relations between soils, species and people.

Building Block: Healthy Soil Scape