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Creating urban-agriculture jobs in France

An urban vegetable garden to return to work

Created in 1994, Espaces is an association that uses environment-related occupations to reintegrate people. Espaces trains and supports those who are excluded from society through work integration projects. The Air Liquide Foundation is helping the association develop CultiCime, its market-gardening project on the roof of a shopping centre in Aubervilliers.

Boom in urban agriculture

Traditional agriculture is giving way to urban agriculture, which has the potential to create new jobs. In Paris alone, it is estimated that more than 3,000 urban-agriculture jobs could be created.

The CultiCime project run by Espaces forms part of this movement that seeks to recreate agricultural jobs, which have the advantage of being social and inclusive.

Occupational integration lever

Since the launch of the CultiCime project in 2016, a total of 29 project employees have received training in urban farming methods. The training combines practical and theoretical skills in sustainable urban market gardening in order to provide some guidance to trainees and enable them to become independent and, ultimately, find a job.

The association’s 1,500 m2 plot of land is used to grow vegetables, kitchen herbs, small fruit, hops and edible flowers.

At the end of 2018, out of 25 employees who were part of the CultiCime project:

10 people had found a job

7 people were still training with Espaces

8 people were looking for work

Ecological approach

CultiCime employees grow around 30 plant species without using any chemical inputs, in accordance with agro-ecology and organic-farming principles.

Urban market gardening helps promote sustainable agriculture while also improving the environment of local inhabitants. The CultiCime project preserves biodiversity, favours the drainage of rainwater and reduces urban heat islands.

In addition, the project’s fruit, vegetables and edible flowers are sold to people who work in local businesses. The short distance between the plot and the place of purchase minimises pollution from transport and responds to a growing demand for environmentally-friendly food.

Involvement of the Air Liquide Foundation

The Air Liquide Foundation contributed to the purchase of market-gardening equipment. 

Thanks to the Foundation’s assistance, the head market gardener works for the CultiCime project on a full-time basis.