The Maison de Cocagne in Vauhallan will be a centre for experimentation, application and training for the Réseau de Cocagne network, with a view to supporting and consolidating the Jardins de Cocagne market gardens in their increasingly relevant objective of finding solutions to social justice and ecological challenges.
The Eiffage Foundation, as part of its multi-year partnership (2016- 2019), attended the Maison de Cocagne Partnership Committee, a project being steered by the Réseau de Cocagne network, involving the construction on the outskirts of Paris of a showcase for ecological and social transition, complete with a Jardins de Cocagne market garden that will be open to the public and groups, and adapted to the organisation of awareness-raising events, training programmes, etc.
The Réseau de Cocagne network runs the Jardins de Cocagne to benefit from their experience, share innovations and promote the market gardens. The 101 Jardins de Cocagne, located throughout France, remobilise 4,000 long-term unemployed people every year.
The goal of the Maison de Cocagne is to become a resource centre to engage in ecological and social transition issues based on experience and action on the ground, and it will benefit in this respect from its location within the Saclay hub for academic excellence and research.
The Foundation was able to see the progress of the work on the Maison de Cocagne, which is due to open in May 2019. To meet its training ambitions, the works include construction of classrooms and accommodation for people coming to train, with the broader goal of making the Jardins de Cocagne market gardens more professional. The works are also designed to highlight the heritage of the old farm where the Maison de Cocagne is located, which used to belong to a neighbouring community of Benedictine Sisters.
The Partnership Committee was an opportunity to consider the future of the Réseau de Cocagne network. Despite their financial limitations, the model offered by the Jardins de Cocagne market gardens appears increasingly relevant, with growing awareness among the general public of the systemic links between social, ecological and regional issues.
A report published on 9 January 2019 by the Court of Auditors’ (rapport) on the integration of unemployed people through economic activity reflected this, confirming the essential role played by this type of structure in the fabric of the local economy in areas with low economic activity.
So the Eiffage Foundation is eagerly looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition, with the intake of its first “students” scheduled for September 2019.