Paris is Turning Its Dark Underground Parking Lots into Organic Mushrooms Farms

What can you do with a dark underground parking lot that isn’t being used anymore? Think fungus. Unused parking garages around Paris have been turned into organic mushroom farms, thanks to a company called Cycloponics. Allowing an extremely nutritious crop to be grown and sold directly in the French capital, the initiative is part of a number of renovation projects the city is encouraging and sponsoring. Along with shitake, oyster, and white button mushrooms, Cycloponics grows chicory — a French delicacy that can grow in the dark — as well as micro-greens like mini broccoli. These are delivered via bicycle to local organic grocery stores. Called “The Cave,” the underground garage is one of three such converted parking garages. With car ownership dwindling, many of the garages are becoming derelict haunts for illicit activity. That’s why in 2017, Mayor Anne Hidalgo launched Reinventing Paris — a project which offered designers, architects, and others a chance to help transform abandoned underground garages into cultural spaces, gastronomic eateries, and other civic-minded projects.