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Urban farming for greener and more sustainable assets

#Group News

In June 2018, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield opened the first urban farm on top of a shopping centre in France, thanks to a partnership between Sous Les Fraises and the Group’s open innovation platform.

Farmhouse So Ouest is a 270 sqm farm – to be extended to 600 sqm in 2019 – located on the roof of the So Ouest shopping centre (Levallois-Perret). There, vegetables, fruits and plants are produced through vertical agriculture, without herbicide, pesticide or fertiliser, according to permaculture principles. Since the opening in June, over one ton of fruits and vegetables have been harvested: tomatoes, basil, mint, strawberries, bell peppers, chilli peppers, kale and thyme. The products are then sold directly to the customers, in a dedicated popup store within the shopping centre.

The Group started to collaborate with Sous Les Fraises two years ago, convinced by its innovative concept. The startup promotes a circular approach of production and consumption: irrigation is achieved through a closed-loop system that recycles rain water to feed the plants and production is sold via a short distribution circuit, avoiding long distance transportation.

Through this partnership, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is bringing nature back to the city. In line with our ambitious CSR strategy Better Places 2030, we are creating better, greener buildings, that are more respectful of the environment.

The project also engages local communities. Workshops are organised for neighbours, visitors, schools and corporates located nearby, to raise awareness on topics related to urban farming. From urban ecology to permaculture and workshops on cocktail creation, edible flowers or herbal tea preparation, Farmhouse So Ouest contributes to local life and well-being by providing access to new equipment and activities.

The partnership with Sous les Fraises reinforces URW Link’s efforts in favour of circular economy, as illustrated by the collaborations with PHENIX and Too Good To Go.

“Overall, the circular and collaborative approach of Sous Les Fraises adds true value to our assets: it exploits unused space and promotes a pragmatic and positive vision of agriculture. This enriches our buildings, making them more sustainable and in tune with their environment. We are accelerating on this topic and look forward to new projects with Sous Les Fraises.” Jean Collet, Director of URW Link.

Other projects are ongoing with Sous Les Fraises. A 150 sqm urban farm should open this year on the roof of SHIFT, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s office development project in Issy-les-Moulineaux.