Social and Employment
Nyons area, France
15 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2008/03/26
"I feel strongly motivated by the ability to have an association that works in a rural environment. This project is important both for the environment, by opting for the growth of organic vegetables, and at the social level. A genuine "family spirit" has been created in the association. The persons in job placement feel protected here, and can gladly resume their progress."
In the Nyons area, the Pontias association is developing a workforce development activity thanks to organic farming. On an area of three hectares, 16 gardeners on integration contracts - ranging from six months to one year, renewable once - are growing organic fruits and vegetables which are then sold under the well-established formula of the Jardins de Cocagne network.
The consumers subscribe quarterly and pick up their weekly fruit and vegetable baskets at prices ranging from 7 to 12 euros. Here, however, Pontias wants its employees (mostly women) to actually convey the baskets to the consumer-customers.
Thanks to this rather simple exchange, the aim is to help the persons on job placement - often facing severe difficulty in reintegrating socially - to learn to engage in a dialogue with others, to engage in exchanges once again.
Good results in durable integration
The social accompaniment of Pontias is not restricted to setting up these weekly exchanges: the association's volunteers help the persons in placement to find a job, to carry out the necessary administrative formalities, and thus, gradually, to reintegrate socially. Thanks to this constant concern to encourage and foster local solidarity, the results are encouraging: after their contract, 60% of the employees find conventional jobs as gardeners, landscape gardeners, or personal aid workers.
Pontias has asked the Veolia foundation to help it purchase a vehicle to transports its employees - the available arable land is spread over two sites - and to buy the materials necessary for the construction of a hut to be used as a dining hall.