"I visit the kitchen garden regularly and am impressed by the quality of its maintenance and its usefulness in one of the social groceries located in a difficult neighborhood. This project meets the expectations of the local authorities both in terms of public health (fighting obesity, the ecological production of fruits and vegetables) and of social integration."
Association pour la Réhabilitation, les Bienfaits et le Respect de l'Environnement (Arbre) was founded in 1991 on the initiative of a number of unpaid volunteers to carry out reforestation projects. In 1995, it consolidated and diversified its operations by creating job assistance systems and setting up a team of a dozen employees. Today, its activities encompass leadership, social and professional integration, social mediation, prevention and parenting missions, always associated with environmental education and sustainable development.
The need to carry out innovative projects in line with the national City Policy, has naturally encouraged Arbre to work in sensitive urban areas like the west and north districts of Nice, where the children and adults have the greatest need to rediscover nature and to recreate a bond with it. The nonprofit thus works in partnership with the authorities: it has signed an urban contract for social cohesion (Cucs) on a school project designed chiefly for delinquent minors from the local missions, and an agreement with the Nice Cote D'Azur region, the City of Nice, Veolia Water and Conservatoire du littoral, a shoreline conservation agency.
Nature, cultivation and healthy food
Arbre has decided to improve the yield of its outreach kitchen garden. This area, cultivated by social dropouts, supplies vegetables cultivated according to a reasoned farming principle, for publics undergoing food training and education. It promotes the consumption of fruits and vegetables by vulnerable persons while urging their involvement in the project, and teaches back-to-work trainees water-saving organic market garden techniques. These trainees are young people in difficulty, often school dropouts and delinquents on probation, who (re)learn to work on a concrete project, with regular working hours, plan the necessary resources and meet deadlines. The produce is targeted at destitute people who lack the resources to eat properly, by means of social groceries (Association Dialogues) and associations fighting social emergencies (Salvation Army).
To help Arbre develop the outreach kitchen garden, an exemplary project which has woven partnerships across complementary fields, the Veolia Foundation is investing in the training of its personnel (in water conservation) and the purchase of equipment and supplies (self-contained automatic water-saving sprinkler system, power tiller, tools, plants and seeds).