Through innovative policy and dedication, Paris has kickstarted a rooftop revolution that’s improving Parisians’ work experience, one office building at a time. In January 2016, city legislators and 33 companies pledged to plant 100 hectares (247 acres) of green roofs and walls within the French capital by 2020, a third of which would be devoted to urban agriculture. Since formalizing this goal through the Objectif 100 Hectares (Target 100 Hectares) charter, Parisians have busily mobilized across the city’s skyline. Last month, Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the first wave of projects – 32 sites in total – that aim to produce “425 tonnes of fruits and vegetables, 24 tonnes of mushrooms, 30,000 flowers… 8,000 litres of beer and 95 kilograms of honey,” according to a Reuters report.
Among these projects, a 900 square meter (0.22 acre) rooftop farm atop a French Post Office building in northern Paris began production on September 14, 2017. A group called Facteur Graine (Seed Postman) manages the farm, which is accessible to the approximately 500 postal employees below. The farm gives employees the opportunity to step away from their digital day jobs into the fresh air, amid ripening fruits and vegetables, and chickens! Employees may soon also see medicinal plants, aromatic plants, and bees within their the rooftop farm.
In addition to benefiting the environment (through rainwater management, carbon sequestration, pollinator habitat provision, etc.), Paris’ rooftop farms could also improve employee happiness, which in tern benefits an employer’s bottom line. Studies indicate that views of nature and access to fresh air at the workplace directly impact physical health and well-being, thereby decreasing absenteeism and increasing employee efficiency and retention.¹ Exposure to these elements – which can be achieved at a rooftop farm – can lower blood pressure, improve stress recovery rates, enhance mental stamina and focus, improve cognitive functions, increase learning rates, and elevate mood, as demonstrated by case studies from the past 25 years.²
So rather than “going postal” at your desk, maybe you can convince your employer that the best decision for your happiness and their bottom line involves farming your office’s rooftop.
¹ Terrapin Bright Green LLC (2012)
² Terrapin Bright Green LLC (2012)