The first Jardin de Cocagne in Haute-Savoie

Organic market gardening by employees on back-to-work contracts: this formula has regularly proved its worth in many parts of France. A newcomer in the sector is the first Jardin de Cocagne of Haute-Savoie, not far from Lake Geneva.

Social and Employment

Publier et Marin, France

Ludovic Martin

15 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2009/06/16

Project leader

The first Jardin de Cocagne in Haute-Savoie

"As the manager of a Veolia transport company and future member of the association, it would be perfectly reasonable for me to hire persons from the association on completion of their back-to-work contracts, as drivers. I would have the advantage of seeing them work previously in a professional context."

Ludovic Martin

An unemployment rate of 5.5% in 2008 but rising steadily in recent months: the rich region of Savoy on the banks of Lake Geneva has also been struck by the economic crisis. In this context, and considering that the local population is highly sensitive to the quality of food products, the nonprofit Les Pousses d'Avenir, part of the Jardins de Cocagne network, has decided to open a market garden employing persons on back-to-work contracts.

On a plot provided by the communes of Publier and Marin, it plans to grow fruits, vegetables, aromatic herbs and flowers by organic farming methods. The very fresh produce will then be sold, using a formula already practiced in many parts of France, to member consumers of the association.

Recovering a taste for social relations

When the activity starts up, twenty two gardener jobs will be created. Trained in the quality standards and technical requirements of organic farming, they will be able to acquire knowhow and professional rigor, which they can use at the end of their subsidized contracts. Besides, by being in instant contact with the members coming for their weekly baskets, those who have turned in on themselves will recover the taste for social relations and even learn the fundamentals of selling.

The grant from the Veolia Foundation will be used to buy a tractor, very useful for developing the activity.