self-service vegetable gardens in La Rochelle

Here’s a new way to enhance your meals at a lower cost, in fact, without spending even a penny. In La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), the town hall set up, just before summer, between May and June, shared vegetable gardens. These beds are maintained by City teams. As for the vegetables that grow there, it’s self-service. Everyone can use. Once a week, the municipal gardeners carry out a harvest. Everything is donated to food aid associations.

Vegetables for everyone

And for a first harvest, we can say that it is successful, all the more so in times of drought (the technical services have complied with the decrees restricting the use of water). “We gave more than 170 kilos of vegetables at the Restos du Coeur and the Food Bank”, rejoices Chantal Vetter, the deputy mayor in charge of nature in the city. Without even counting all the vegetables recovered by onlookers.

These are fresh, local products, without any pesticides. It’s good for everyone’s diet

To find these vegetables, it’s almost a treasure hunt. “We are working on four earth sitesdevelops Delphine, one of the gardeners who takes care of it. A first in the park of the Porte Royale, another on the roundabout of the avenue Jean Moulin. Then also at the Charruyer park in Mireuil”. Here is the list of the most important massifs. But the gardeners also take care of plants hidden here and there in the city’s green spaces. If you come across cherry tomatoes by chance, you will therefore have the freedom to savor them….

Squash, tomatoes, Swiss chard, cauliflower…

“For an aperitif, it’s cherry tomatoes!” jokes Delphine. Right next to her, one of her colleagues, Lenny, is picking some up. Well, not much… Bad luck for us, too bad. “We have tomatoes, but also squash, zucchini, Swiss chard, cauliflower…” says the young gardener. The summer harvest is coming to an end, the gardeners are in the process of a rotation to install winter crops.

One of the gardeners maintains the massif of the Porte Royale park. © Radio France
Lise Dussault

“In the fall, we will pick up everything that is pumpkin” welcomes Delphine. When they work, they are regularly challenged by curious people. They are moreover several to say it: “We are very happy with this work, it changes our daily lives. Seeing that we are helping people in need is gratifying, it’s true.”

An educational project

The chosen one remembers the reaction when she brought the first vegetables to the Restos du Coeur as well as to the Food Bank: “Of course they were very happy! _fresh, local products, without any pesticides_. It’s good for everyone’s diet.”. Delphine confirms: “All we put in was manure at the start, and then we put our heart into it to work, nothing else!”

These shared vegetable gardens could continue, perhaps in a slightly different form. The City also hopes that the inhabitants appropriate these massifs. “There is an educational side, it makes them want, but they see the gardeners, it’s work”completes the chosen one.

The risk in these self-service places is that they are degraded. But according to the town hall, only one act of vandalism was countedat the Porte Royale Park.

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