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Professional intra-urban agriculture  logistics (case study in Paris)


Producing in the city is no longer a novelty in France today. Urban farms are emerging in many cities for the many services they can provide to the city and its inhabitants: food products, events, training, social ties, environmental benefits, etc. (Duchemin et al., 2010; IAU Ile-de-France, 2018; Giacchè et al., 2021). It has been defined by Moustier and Mbaye as "agriculture located in the city or on its outskirts, whose products are mainly intended for the city and for which there is an alternative between agricultural and non-agricultural use of resources (land, water, labor etc.) which opens up competition and complementary uses” (Moustier and Mbaye, 1999).


However, who says produce in the city does not necessarily mean that distribution logistics are more efficient than in peri-urban or rural areas, where logistical problems on a certain number of short local food circuits have already have already been highlighted in previous studies (ADEME, 2017; Blanquart C. et al., 2015; Morana J., Gonzalez-Feliu J., 2011; Aubry C. and Chiffoleau Y., 2009). When dealing with logistics, several definitions come together. According to the Institut d'Aménagement et d'Urbanisme d'Ile-de-France, "Logistics covers the activities implemented to provide the customer with the desired product, the desired quantity, in the right place, at the right time, at the lowest cost. This translates into a series of operations (packaging, labelling, sorting, etc.), from the purchase of raw materials to the distribution of the final product, which are linked to the consumer. This organization applies to food products” (IAU Ile-de-France, 2015b). It can raise issues of flow, whether physical (in our case of agricultural goods) but also informational, so as to transmit elements of information from the farm to the customers, from the customers to the farm and from the closed to other interlocutors essential to production and sale (Auclair, 2014; Allocirco, 2015).

Specific references in logistics in urban agriculture are rare, which led us to the present study which is intended to be exploratory. We have carried out an inventory of the distribution logistics of professional intra-urban agriculture in Paris, where these forms of agriculture have been strongly encouraged since 2016 by successive Parisculteurs programs and a similar study is underway in Marseille. We have analyzed twenty Parisian projects: we characterize the existing production models, identify the different marketing circuits as well as the advantages and limits of the urban setting on logistics organizations.

Establish an inventoryproductive and commercial models existing today in Paris by analyzing the impact of these different models on different determinants of logistics

Highlightthe constraints encountered but also the logistical advantages of producing in town

​ Think about  concrete solutionsto improve and optimize this logistics of short urban circuits

  • Bibliographic analysis on the logistics of short food circuits, urban agriculture, last mile logistics, logistics optimization solutions, methods of cooperation of producers in short circuits, etc.

  • Identification and selection of producers to be surveyed in Paris with regard to three criteria: urban farms located in intra-muros peers and in the first ring putting edible plants on the market

  • Semi-structured interviews with 20 farmers in Paris between March 2020 and July 2021 to collect qualitative and quantitative data on logistics and their marketing strategies

  • Analysis of the logistics associated with production, order preparation, storage, processing and final distribution to the customer




Methodology used


Simplified diagram of the urban agriculture supply chain

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