ACM Habitat, the city and the metropolis of Montpellier have refurbished a disused car park to set up a business incubator dedicated to urban agriculture.
Here, for example, Green House Keeper grows medicinal plants, in a laboratory, for pharmaceutical or cosmetic laboratories.
The difference with a traditional incubator is that the Grenier de la Mosson is open to everyone: curious inhabitants can come and meet the entrepreneurs.
There is no shortage of business incubators in Montpellier (Hérault).
But the one that opened at La Paillade is not an incubator like the others.
First, it is the place that hosts it that surprises.
The Grenier de la Mosson opened in a disused car park, in the basement of a building in this popular district.
Here, until a few weeks ago, there were only piles of rubbish and wrecked cars.
“Perhaps we have unoccupied places for which we lose money guarding them, or condemning them regularly, where there is something to do in terms of urban agriculture!
“, says Michel Calvo (PS), elected and president of ACM Habitat, which has renovated the place with the city and the metropolis of Montpellier.
From now on, this former car park, baptized the Grenier de la Mosson, welcomes young shoots, companies, researchers or associations, which have embarked on indoor agriculture.
Medicinal plants in the basement
“Did you think that one day we would meet in a car park in La Mosson?
“, smiles Michaël Delafosse (PS), the mayor and president of the metropolis, engaged, he slips, in a rebalancing of Montpellier.
“Not everything has to happen in Port-Marianne [a chic district of the city].
It also has to happen at La Mosson.
From now on, “what is growing here are projects!
“, rejoices Michaël Delafosse.
The Grenier de la Mosson hosts, for example, Green House Keeper.
This start-up cultivates in a laboratory in the basement, without natural light and without soil, medicinal plants for researchers or pharmaceutical laboratories.
But not only.
This company, created by Pierre Joram, has recently collaborated with the eco-responsible cosmetics brand Ulé, which is experiencing tremendous growth.
A place open to residents
Settling here was for the entrepreneur “an opportunity to have premises” and, above all, to share.
Because this incubator has one hell of a difference compared to traditional nurseries: it is open to residents.
Those who wish can go there to discover the latest innovations in indoor agriculture.
“I like to pass on my knowledge, and to be able to teach, for example to children, how to make plants differently, with technologies, confides Pierre Joram.
Often, people, when they learn what we do, immediately say "It's GMOs!"
While we do, precisely, everything in a natural way!
Without pesticides, without anything at all.
This is a great opportunity to transmit this knowledge.
The Grenier de la Mosson also houses a mobile recycling centre, the Oasis, on the roof of the car park.
This place, supported by the startup Ecosec, which creates astonishing dry toilets, and the association Les Petits débrouillards, offers activities on science or ecology.
"What is this thing, is it a flying saucer?"
laughs a resident on his balcony.
"It's very good," he says, however.
Here, not so long ago, some were doing mechanics, it was not possible!
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