I will deal here with a topic which take more and more place in our cities : shared vegetable gardens. They are often implanted on a public or private space that some people share.
Most of the time, it's inhabitants of the neighbourhood who take care of the garden.
They use it in mainly different ways : sometimes it's next to some social buildings in order to help people who don't have so much money. It is also used in a pedagogic way, when schools create educative activities for children. A lot of them are used by a neighbourhood association but sometimes it's also just temporary, on a wild land space.
This democratic gardening has a lot of gain : it allows people to eat vegetables with a better quality, it has a real impact on garedner health. Indeed, their moral welfare is improved thanks to the contact with earth and other people. It's sometimes an answer to the lost of power purchase for some people, as students, retired and unemployed persons... .
This is also very good for sustainable development : shared gardens become spaces dedicated to the environment eduction, they create a stronger sensibilization about environment respect. In these places, you will be able to learn and to practice the waste and water management, the respect and beautification of outside spaces, and the biodiversity conservation.
From a collaborative point of view, shared vegetable gardens encourage social connection. The population of these little places are very mixed and from every generations. These gardens enhance wild land areas too, and allow inhabitants to appropriate public space. They participate to the balance between city and nature, and offer a real democratic daily participation, which maybe make people feel the democracy and the civil society life closer to them than in politic for instance.
Here, I'd like to deal more preciselly with the exemple of shared gardens in Lyon. A city at the Est of France, close to the Alpes, where I lived for 2 years.
These shared gardens exist in Lyon since 2001, they took exemple on New-York and its 600 vegetable gardens. Now, there are around 50 shared gardens in Lyon and its metropolitan area. It's almost 1000 families who are involved and participates to a garden maintenance. More and more are created since 2009 because the city encouraged it, with a financial help.
Dounia Besson, who are working in this project at the city hall, tells that the very first vegetable shared garden was created in La Duchère neighbourhood in Lyon. It's a place where immigrants are a lot, so at the beginning, the first idea was to help immigrants to feel better in their new life. Apparently it would be because in their countries of origin, the agriculture often takes many importance.
There are some commun rules for all these gardens. For instance, gardeners have to delete all use of any pesticides and fertilizer which are not strictely natural. But of course, each garden has also its differences : for exemple in one of them, people decided to share all the space. They don't have a little piece each, they share all and decide together of what they grow.
When they come here, gardeners are often with their children. Audrey Fahys is one of them : what seduce her in this project is the fact to find nature in the city, to touch earth and to see vegetables grow. This young gardener explain that shared vegetable gardens allow especially to fight against the consumption society. She explains that in the world nowadays, all is going very fast. We are pushed to buy more, as if everything was entitlement. In these gardens, people share a special philosophy : take the time.