Preparing tomorrow’s urban agriculture

A food production revolution is needed to successfully feed 9 billion people in 2040 –urban agriculture is one of the innovative solutions to this global problem. With this in mind, the Elise association has designed a new training course in bio-intensive micro-market gardening techniques. Two employees with disabilities are going to test it.


The goal of Elise, a Lille-based association set up in 1997, is to combine environmental protection and job creation for people with disabilities and / or getting into work. With the Veolia Group and its Foundation, it has for example already worked on creating a network of recycling based social enterprises. The collaboration is now continuing in a completely different field: urban agriculture.

In Lomme in northern France, Veolia has built a pilot farm within the Marché d'Intérêt National (MIN). The objective is to develop agronomic expertise, evaluate the environmental benefits, envisage the conditions for deployment... and develop a training program to open this form of agriculture to as many people as possible. Veolia asked Elise to design this skills transfer.

With the support of the Foundation, the association is responsible for creating a training course covering bio-intensive micro-market gardening techniques on the ground in real operating conditions. It will work on the basis of the learning process of two people with disabilities currently employed on the MIN pilot farm. The training, which will be developed by human resources experts in the Elise group, will be designed on the basis of three skill levels. Several areas of knowledge and know-how have been identified for each task that has to be performed on the farm, grouped according to the level. The course will be tested by Elise on the experimental farm with the assistance of two of their employees with disabilities.

The experiment meets an ambitious overall objective: to create more permanent jobs for people with difficulties and develop an economy that is meaningful, concrete, innovative and circular.