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Good ideas for gardening in the city

Find every Saturday in the "Terre d'actions" column of practical and eco-friendly initiatives in France and around the world.

In these times of greyness and frozen sidewalks, the desire for fresh air and greenery are stirring the imagination. It may be winter, the earth is at rest. But on his balcony or in an urban farm, it is possible, even in January, to roll up the sleeves to plunge the fingers in the soil.

The success of urban agriculture is not new, but its emergence is such that we can definitely get this practice out of the category "fashion effect" and admit that it occupies a beautiful place in the future of our cities .

It conquers so many city dwellers because it is available at all scales and levels of investment. For beginners, trainings are organized by many organizations on the territory and companies like Merci Raymond and Refarmers. In Nantes, the collective Lab'AU 44 manages several gardening places and is creating a House of urban agriculture.

Read also Urban agriculture: the city is better

Such spaces also exist in Angers, Marseille and Lyon, among others. In the Paris region, go to the urban shepherds of La Courneuve who reinvent pastoralism in the city, the Ferme du Bonheur in Nanterre or the participatory gardens on Thursday at the Canal Prairie in Bobigny. The website Enlarge your Paris organizes on the subject of the Agricultural Meetings of Greater Paris, until July 2019.

Cultivate on the roofs

In the capital, the Recyclerie and Ruisseau gardens, installed on the rails of the small belt in the XVIIIe borough, offer great opportunities to talk about sowing and transplanting. More targeted, the association Veni Verdi has developed vegetable gardens in Paris colleges Priority Education Zones (ZEP) and recently embarked on training open to all. The Town Hall encourages these projects, in particular the gardens on the rooftops of buildings, with its Parisculteurs program.

At the national level, the French Association of Professional French Agriculture also offers several types of courses, from the simple "Vegetable Garden over the seasons" to the more in depth "to learn about permaculture". A big raout, called the 48 hours of urban agriculture, will be organized in several French and Belgian cities on May 4th and 5th.

January is also the time to prepare your garden, check that perennials are well protected from frost and rebuild their seed stock for late winter planting (peppers, peppers, beans, radishes, leeks, parsley , chervil, chives).

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A recent study shows that the food self-sufficiency of the first 100 French urban areas is only 2%, which means that 98% of food is imported. Another problem: 96.9% of agricultural production in urban areas is consumed outside the territory. The utility of farming in the city is not anecdotal if we want to ensure our livelihood in times of global warming and depletion of natural resources.

Aude Massiot

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