Friday, 16 August 2013

I'm still now and then having someone get in contact with me, wondering if the Paris Urban Farming Collective is still going, and whether the tripod greenhouse design worked out.
Well, it isn't, and it didn't.

I'm not currently in France, and not likely to be for a little while, but I've created a Facebook group for anyone wanting to discuss urban farming in Paris, and maybe hopefully find some others to do stuff with:

The greenhouse got taken out by a wind storm, turns out flat walls on plastic structures is stupid. So now I know that. In the time since I've been developing other bits of open source tech, most which actually seem to be working, you can see what I'm up to at
Among other things there you can find the blog where I'm posting how it's all going.

This year I'll be travelling through Australia, Asia, and the Middle East back to Europe, working with people along the way to design and implement low tech, scrap makable alternative infrastructure.
Going to be a crazy year.


Thursday, 15 September 2011


Just a quick update on where I'm currently at.

Last month's been spent in Ireland, wwoofing on a pretty decent community called The Hollies and spending time with some good friends from Scotland.

As of yesterday tho I've arrived in Leipzig, former East Germany, for the dual purpose of prototyping a couple solar energy ideas (check for updates) and just seeing what's going on here.
So far, it seems; a lot.

I'm staying with a friend, who informs me that to buy the entire building her flat's in would set you back about €40k, with something less renovated being about half that, and less still at auction. If you come to the city with a business idea the council will offer you free office and work space. Most streets I'd say about a third to a half of the buildings have been abandoned for decades. The main commercial street near here is two thirds empty, and it remains the commercial strip because it's doing so well in having any at all.

And that's why so many people have started coming here. If you want to get a project off the ground, or try something new and need workspace, or want to build a community, Leipzig will let you, and for free.

With regards to urban farming I'm not yet sure how much is happening. There's large number of allotments around the city, but judging by them being almost entirely lawn and flowers, I'm thinking the average age of ownership would be edging up on the average life expectancy.

I'd love to see some greenhouses built here.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Well, it's over.

We lost the location, Ecobox, due to last minute skittishness on matters of council and landowner permission, budget, and various other things. As I'm heading to Ireland in about a week, and I don't get the sense that there's such a groundswell of will to see this thing through here, might as well call it.
We also had a few troubles lining up materials, as Paris just inexplicably lacks certain things, like greenhouse plastic. But we had a few leads and probably would've got it sorted this week.

So that's that then. I'm going to talk to some people in Cork when I arrive, there's a fairly well established permaculture school there and maybe a bit more interest than here.
But this was always more of an experiment / temperature check than a project I was determined to see through. I simply don't yet know how viable this kind of approach to food production is in Europe and other Western countries. It won't happen until there's the will to do it, and I have doubts that currently there is. When I'm in more developing countries I imagine the dynamic will be somewhat different.
Mind you, this is Paris. If I'd really wanted to give this thing its best chance I would've gone to Copenhagen or Berlin. But I just wanted to hang out in Paris for the summer.
And now Ireland.
I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

First meeting:

We now seem to have numbers, so

Next step meeting, at this stage looking like afternoon of Monday the 25th, tho this may change. More info to follow.


Nous avons maintenant semblent avoir des chiffres, de sorte
Elle commence!

Réunion La prochaine étape, à ce stade sans doute après-midi du lundi 25, mais cela pourrait changer. Plus d'info à suivre.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

J'ai rencontré permaculturalists, jardiniers guérilleros, les squatters, le mouvement Zeitgeist, les agriculteurs urbains, des artistes, des ingénieurs, des villes en transition, et tout le monde à Paris il ya à répondre.
C'est maintenant un appel ouvert pour les participants dans la construction de la première serre, être terminé d'ici début août. Nous avons un bon emplacement, de l'argent et les matériaux sont simples, nous avons juste besoin des gens.
Quand je reçois au moins quatre noms que je vais appeler la réunion de poing, et nous allons commencer.

ufcparis at gmail com

Aussi, nous avons maintenant une proposition crowdfunding travers pour couvrir le coût de la première serre:


I've met permaculturalists, guerilla gardeners, squatters, the Zeitgeist movement, urban farmers, artists, engineers, transition towners, and everyone else in Paris there is to meet.
This is now an open call for participants in building the first greenhouse, to be finished by early August. We have a good location, money and materials are basic, we just need people.
When I get at least four names I'll call the fist meeting, and we'll begin.

ufcparis at gmail com

Also, we now have a crowdfunding proposal through to cover the cost of the first greenhouse:

Monday, 4 July 2011

Went to Ecobox's permaculture fair yesterday, talked to some people involved in the scene, got some advice and expressions of interest. Hopefully meeting some guerilla gardeners this week, will let yall know about where and when, if you wanted to attend.

Also been talking briefly with a girl who's been involved with urban farming in the states, says in Detroit, Philadelphia and New York especially there's quite a scene going. So hopefully whatever we develop here can be of help. No one seems to be following the mobile greenhouse model, no real idea why...

And.. talked to a dude involved in the local Zeitgeist Movement, who reckons they've been talking up the idea of urban hydroponics for a while now, so hopefully can tie in with them as well.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

First greenhouse site confirmed!

Here's what it looks like: (click for larger)

And here's where it is:

The lot is being used by the Ecobox community garden, and they seem pretty interested in the project.
Not a problem that it's asphalt as we'll be coming up off the ground with raised beds, shelves etc. I have serious reservations about planting in city soil anyway, due to heavy metals and other toxins. We'll be making our own, probably through a combination of compost, manure, a trailer full of dirt from outside the city, and possibly even a bio-digester.
The only issue with it being a solid surface is not being able to sink a cooling system, which after the last two freakishly hot days here in Paris (up to 38 C), is starting to look like an important addition. There is, however, a grassy bank just over that fence, so I'm thinking to put the water tank in that and just run the hoses to it.
Now just need to start building...

Le lot est utilisé par le jardin communautaire Ecobox, et ils semblent assez intéressés par le projet.
Pas de problème que c'est l'asphalte que nous allons venir sur le sol avec des lits surélevés, des étagères etc, j'ai de sérieuses réserves sur la plantation dans le sol ville de toute façon, à cause de métaux lourds et autres toxines. Nous allons faire le nôtre, sans doute grâce à une combinaison de compost, de fumier, une remorque pleine de saleté de l'extérieur de la ville, et peut-être même un bio-digesteur.
Le seul problème avec elle étant une surface solide est de ne pas pouvoir couler un système de refroidissement, qui, après les deux derniers jours freakishly chaud ici, à Paris (jusqu'à 38 ° C), commence à ressembler à un ajout important. Il ya, cependant, un talus gazonné peu plus de cette clôture, alors que je pense de mettre le réservoir d'eau dans ce juste et exécuter les tuyaux à elle.
Il nous suffit maintenant de commencer à construire ...

Friday, 17 June 2011

Paris Urban Farming Collective - Ferme collective et urbaine dans Paris

What I want to do is this:
  • Get a bunch of people together; makers, growers and organisers.
  • Locate the unused and empty lots and blocks of land in central Paris.
  • Approach the land owners saying we'll be gone the day they say to be, we won't leave a mark and might be able to pay a little rent.
  • Build several greenhouses and other useful things.
    Farm Paris.

This isn't for demonstration purposes or raising awareness etc, this is to grow large quantities of good food year round. When we inevitably get moved on from a block, pack everything up and shift to the next. The only limiting factors are how much land we'd have access to and how many people are involved. All tech and infrastructure will be open source and hopefully we'll get copied.

Other potential projects to build in:

  • Free permaculture university (PDCs do not need to be that expensive)
  • Open circus/juggling/parkour/graff space (plants like CO2, I like aerialist silks)
  • Energy and water production (might as well testbed some stuff while we're here)

People we need:

  • Anyone who wants to build greenhouses and other helpful things
  • Anyone who wants to grow food (I'm mainly thinking permaculture principles, but whatever works)
  • Infrastructure people to keep it all together, approach land owners and hopefully not the council, manage the absolute minimum of cash involved
  • Anyone else who wants in

If you are interested please contact me via ufcparis at gmail dot com

or the Facebook group.

Main discussion forum :

Notre but est de :

  • Rassembler ensemble fabricants, cultivateurs et organisateurs.
  • Localiser les lieux inhabités, vides, abandonnés dans le centre de Paris.
  • Se rapprocher des propriétaires de terres en leurs précisant que nous quitterons les lieux le jour ou ils le souhaiteront, que nous partiront sans laisser de traces, et que nous pourrons payer un petit loyer le temps de notre présence.
  • Construire plusieurs serres et d’autres choses utiles
  • Faire une ferme Parisienne

Le but n’est pas de faire une démonstration, ou un appel à la prise de conscience ….mais de faire pousser une grande quantité de nourriture chaque année.
Si nous sommes forcés de quitter les lieux, nous rangerons tout ce que nous avons amené, pour l’installer dans le lieu suivant.
La seule difficulté est de savoir de combien de terre nous pouvons avoir accès et utiliser et combien de personnes peuvent participer ce projet.
Toutes les techniques et infrastructures pourront nous être utiles et seront une aide précieuse.

Autre projets à mettre en place :

  • Cours gratuits de permaculture
  • Un lieu de cirque/jonglerie/parcours, art
  • Production d’énergie et d’eau

Les personnes utiles à ce projet :

  • Toutes personnes souhaitant construire des serres et autres structures utiles.
  • Toutes personnes souhaitant faire pousser fruits, légumes, plants (partant sur le principe de la permaculture , ou de tous autres systèmes qui fonctionnent).
  • Réunir les gens de différentes structures pour permettre d’approcher plus facilement les propriétaires des terres en dépensant le moins d’argent possible.
  • Toutes personnes souhaitant participer à ce projet.

Si vous êtes intéressés, merci de me contacter via : ufcparis@gmail;com
ou sur facebook


Stick a fork in it, it's done.
Well, few finishing touches; maybe some double sided flooring tape to lock down the edges, and of course all the shelving to go in, but that's the structure wrapped and roofed.

9 meter triangle side
3.8 meters tall
100 square meters of plastic
35 square meter footprint
~100 square meters growing space, depending how you use it.

Total cost:
($95 for the plastic, about $25 for screws, nails, etc. All wood felled or recycled).

Took three of us about 7 days to build, not including getting the materials together, but it would've been about half that if we hadn't been inventing the thing as we went.

Next one will be done slightly differently, bit easier to construct but generally the same. Maybe a third larger...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Hey, got a hundred and fifty hits yesterday, that aint bad. I think largely due to this writeup here.

Writing this from the Hong Kong international airport, gate 65. Arriving Germany (tomorrow?) and making a bee line for Paris. Got a place to stay last minute through Couchsurfing.
God I'm tired. (3 am biological time, been awake since 6 am (this??) morning, am now just over halfway through this trip with another twelve hour flight to go.)

Monday, 13 June 2011

Back now in Christchurch being rocked by fairly constant aftershocks, flying out tomorrow for Europe from one volcanic ash cloud to another. Yeesh.

My father's currently putting the final touches on the greenhouse, I didn't quite have time to do so myself, and he'll be sending down some photos soon which I'll post here.

I was planning to be travelling Europe this summer roadtrip style with the solarflower project, but that has now fallen through due to lack of funds. Got another idea tho, and will post it here shortly. Think you might like it...

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Two days later the things still just a smidge off completion. I was supposed to leave for Christchurch this morning (well, yesterday, officially), now looks to be tomorrow noonish due to some on-the-fly redesigns of this structure taking more time than thought.
But it's looking pretty sweet. Photos tomorrow for sure.