How Rennes hopes to encourage the development of urban agriculture

How Rennes hopes to encourage the development of urban agriculture

Violet Field inPlanetJan 3, 2021 4 min read1 views

Several projects to install professional structures are under study in the Breton capital

Allotment gardens alongside a professional market gardening in the Blosne district of Rennes. - C. Allain / 20 Minutes
  • Several farmer installation projects will materialize in 2021 in Rennes.
  • The municipality wishes to encourage urban agriculture in the years to come.
  • An ecological and food issue, but also education to bring nature and cultures back to urban areas.

Flowers, colors, and flavors amid the concrete of the city. Bees that forage, chickadees that nest, and butterflies that rest there. While the French metropolises are all trying to green themselves, many of them let themselves be tempted by urban agriculture. Capital of one of the main market gardening regions of France, Rennes has already lent or rented part of its land to farmers. A choice that the municipality intends to develop this year by launching several calls for projects across the city. “We want to develop production sites in all neighborhoods. These are invaluable tools for making residents aware of local and sustainable consumption. We must put food back at the heart of urban issues, ”explains Ludovic Brossard, a deputy in charge of the file with Nathalie Appéré.

On these wastelands, often of modest size, the city has already installed several projects such as the emblematic permaculture farm PermaG'Rennes, at La Prévalaye, or it's neighbor Le Jardin des Mille Pas. However, there is no question of hoping to feed more than 200,000 inhabitants with these urban farms. The environmentalist mayor of Grenoble Eric Piolle has known it since he was seriously tackled by evoking “the progress towards food autonomy” of his city, after the inauguration of an urban farm of 3,000 m², which will only be able to feed a few inhabitants. “We are not talking about food autonomy. Our role is to support a transition, to show forgotten things, to recreate a link with nature ”, explains Hélène Brethes, coordinator of the Cols Verts.

🥦🥕 Grenoble is moving towards food autonomy. A new urban farm of nearly 3000m2 under construction. From farm to fork, long live the #bio and local! Cities import 98% of their food, it is a social and environmental aberration. So let's change.🥬🍎

- Éric Piolle (@EricPiolle) December 21, 2020

His association called on a professional market gardener a little over a year ago to cultivate land in the middle of the towers of the Blosne district. The city has just granted it two new plots on one and a half hectares next to the garage workshop of the metro at La Poterie. “Since we started, we've seen lots of people asking to buy our vegetables from us. There is a return to the local, to the desire to support the people of the neighborhood, ”continues the coordinator.

Beyond the sale to community restaurants in the neighborhood, the vegetable garden is above all an educational support for the Cols Verts, who run fifteen workshops per week with schoolchildren. It is in this direction that the Rennes municipality wishes to rush. A cultural guinguette project carried by the association 35 Volts will see the light of day in the old farm of Quincé. Another guinguette will be set up around vegetable gardens in La Prévalaye thanks to the Basse-Cour project. “We cannot launch 25 calls for expressions of interest at the same time but we are progressing gradually and we want to encourage all forms of agriculture. We should soon see laying hens at the bottom of buildings in Beauregard and black piebald cows in Prévalaye ”, assures elected Ludovic Brossard. A first seed.