Urban Farming and Community Initiatives in Lille

Last update: 11.12.17 First posted: 11.12.17 by in

During an EU funded Erasmus workshop for young people and students from the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Romania held in Lille I was asked to give a presentation on the work and principles of Incredible Edible Todmorden. This was held in an inspiring community restaurant called Baraka in an inner city area of the town of Roubaix, the twin city of Bradford. The local community has ambitious plans to expand and grow their existing small urban growing plot,
serre agricole
which is adjacent to their restaurant, and are looking at a range of funding options to support this optimistic and bold initiative.
We also visited another scheme that had secured 5 million Euros from the EU, yes they do get a lot of such funding in France, to build a ‘Cuisine Commune’ in a huge former engineering works.
cuisine commune
This would include a giant food court, a training college to teach would be caterers and an urban garden to supply at least some of the veg to be cooked and used.
We also visited a community café and supermarket set up by volunteers, whose shareholders have to devote 3 hours a month to helping out in the store. All of these projects were inspiring in how they embraced the notion of doing things in a different way, and by using the growing and supplying of food as the foundation for community regeneration.
urban growing
When asked what lessons we could learn from such projects I said that we needed many more similar examples, in every town, city and neighbourhood. They might not be incredible, as many rely upon grant related funding, but those who run them are champions of a new way of doing things and need all the support they can get and we can give them.

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