Social and Employment
Saintes, Charente-Maritime, France
6,500 euro to the Selection Committee at 2006/12/05
"This experience is a real springboard for the people employed – it enables them to reestablish contact with the world of work and rediscover the merits of discipline in their personal and social lives."
Since 1997, Saint Fiacre has acquired solid experience in back-to-work schemes based on biological market gardening. It employs 35 people previously excluded from the labor market (adult RMI (minimum income support) beneficiaries, disabled people and people working on general-interest projects, etc). Today it is keen to develop its activities by setting up a biological orchard.
Throughout the year, trainees will be introduced to the different stages of fruit production. They will learn how to prune trees, make a graft take, use stakes and prepare for the harvest... This work is demanding and painstaking but provides useful know-how in this fruit-producing region where seasonal workers are much in demand.
An orchard that is also open to the public
The back-to-work scheme also has a second aspect. Saint Fiacre Insertion and the town of Saintes (which is providing the land) will be working together to integrate the new orchard into the town's program for raising awareness of environmental conservation.
The orchard will be open to the public as one stage in the “La Prairie de la Pallu” pedestrian circuit that also includes visits to the municipal greenhouses, a Nature Center, a discovery track and many activities linked to the theme of environmental protection. In the orchard, the public will be able to familiarize themselves with the fruit trees grown in the region and with the work of nurserymen. They will also be able to find out about biological methods for avoiding products harmful to the environment, such as the role of auxiliary insects and certain flowers to replace pesticides or using compost instead of polluting fertilizers.