2022-06-20

Discover how Groupe SOS combines ecology and solidarity!

Off to Romania, in Ciocănari village, Dâmbovița county, where Ateliere Fără Frontiere, a Groupe SOS association, cultivates care for the environment and people in promoting urban agriculture and local production of healthy, responsibly grown food.  

“The happiest vegetables grow on our farm” – says the horticultural engineer of the farm. 

 

Bio&co, one of the three socio-professional insertion workshops of the Romanian NGO Ateliere Fără Frontiere, is a successful circular economy project launched in 2015. It is a certified organic farm that has its 1000m2 composting platform for food and organic waste collected from the farm, but also restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. The farm sells certified organic vegetables, harvests responsibly and distributes its products in a short, direct circuit to subscribers, in weekly baskets, as the first step towards a healthier lifestyle for the people of the nearby community.  

 2021 accomplishments at bio&co:

  • 4,507 baskets of vegetables sold 
  • 100 varieties of vegetables 
  • An average of 90 weekly subscribers 
  • 4000 sqm solarium
  • 3.23 ha of certified organic land 
  • 17 beehives 

With this workshop, Ateliere Fără Frontiere is promoting social integration and employment of vulnerable people, responsible waste management and environmental protection, solidarity and responsibility for sustainable development:  

“We respect the Earth and nature. We respect people in vulnerable communities and we are here to help them. […] Together with 10 people from the community we work hard every day, and we are very careful that the vegetables we plant grow harmoniously and healthy.

Back in France now with Amadou Traoré, one of Fermes d’Avenir’s agroecological market gardening programme fellow on Nathalie Cerclé’s farm in Auvergne.   

→ What is agroecology?  

“At Fermes d’Avenir, we understand « agroecological » as any model of farm or territorial food system that makes possible to respond to social, economic and environmental challenges related to food and agriculture.”  

Groupe SOS association Fermes d’Avenir supports the development of agroecology throughout France. Fermes d’Avenir acts in favour of the ecological and social transition of French agriculture made of more sustainable and environment-friendly practices. When Amadou, flee from Ivory Coast and arrived in France in 2018, he followed a fellowship programme provided by Fermes d’Avenir, which enabled him to leave Paris with the aim to pursue his passion for organic market gardening and make it his profession within Nathalie Cerclé’s farm. 

> But what is the Fermes d’Avenir fellowship programme?  

It is an 8-month training programme at the end of which participants are ready to start their own farm, to be recruited as qualified farm workers or even as crop managers on a farm. In addition to training a workforce in agroecological practices that are essential to the transition towards more sustainable practices, the fellowship programme has a special course dedicated to refugees arriving in France just like Amadou.  This is a unique programme in France which creates pairs with a refugee and a non-refugee who will work together throughout the training.  

Did you know that in France, one in ten asylum seekers detains agricultural skills?  The French agriculture sector is cruelly lacking a qualified labour force while those people often wish to develop their skills such as the life story of Amadou shows us. The fellowship programme is therefore providing labour force to an economic sector in demand, a real way of integrating refugees into the labour market and into a society that we want more respectful of the people and the planet. 

« I like everything: the environment, the land, how the land works, that’s what I like about organic market gardening, not working with chemicals. I want to produce health to give to people » – Amadou Traoré 

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