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Peace on a Paris rooftop

Emilie Giafferi manages the kitchen garden of Rue d’Aboukir in Paris for organisation Veni Verdi.
Picking strawberries and aromatic plants in the heart of Paris – like the sound of that? Organisation Veni Verdi gives people the chance to potter for a few hours in one of its rooftop vegetable gardens. For something a bit different, we headed up to this elevated green corner and met manager Emilie Giafferi.
Peace on a Paris rooftop
9am

On the roof of 6 Rue d’Aboukir, a team is assembling. Wearing a yellow jacket and a ravishing smile, Emilie welcomes the day’s volunteers. She’s been in charge of this roof garden in the heart of Paris for the past three years. Around her this morning are students, young people retraining and retirees – and they’ve all come here to garden for a couple of hours.

200 square metres

The kitchen garden was created three years ago from a collaboration between the city of Paris (site owner) and Enedis, its tenant. Today, the planted area covers over 200 square metres.

Peace on a Paris rooftop
200 square metres

The kitchen garden was created three years ago from a collaboration between the city of Paris (site owner) and Enedis, its tenant. Today, the planted area covers over 200 square metres.

Peace on a Paris rooftop
Sky-high strawberries

Aromatic herbs, strawberries and raspberries, aubergines, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, onions, beans, squash... everything is grown here! Every Thursday, Emilie sets up a sale of the harvested produce for local residents and employees working in the building, held at the building’s entrance.

A summit meeting

Emilie comes to the site twice a week with a team of volunteers. She’s responsible for briefing them and explaining the day’s objectives. That morning, it was putting in stakes and picking strawberries. Veni Verdi looks after around 50 rooftop vegetable gardens in Paris, most of them in schools.

Peace on a Paris rooftop
A summit meeting

Emilie comes to the site twice a week with a team of volunteers. She’s responsible for briefing them and explaining the day’s objectives. That morning, it was putting in stakes and picking strawberries. Veni Verdi looks after around 50 rooftop vegetable gardens in Paris, most of them in schools.

Peace on a Paris rooftop

Ilian is 23 years old and studying urban agriculture. We asked him what he likes about Veni Verdi, and he replied it was the diversity of gardens and people involved. “Many of our vegetable gardens are in schools, which allow kids to discover the magic of cultivation. At the same time, we organise team-buildings for companies: I’ve already seen 10-year-olds explain to Google employees how to set up the hoses. It’s a great human adventure!”

Community spirit

Annie joined Emilie’s team straight away following her retirement. Standing up for agriculture, fighting against global warming... people’s motivations for coming are numerous. “It clears my head,” Annie smiles, “and here we all mix, students with retirees. It’s really rewarding.”

Peace on a Paris rooftop
Urban biodiversity

A sky-high meeting with a snail… championing biodiversity in the city is one of the main aims and advantages of these urban gardens. Veni Verdi not only unites different types of people but also reconnects Parisians with nature – it’s a vital lifeline.

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