The micro-events were very diverse, with attendees invited to notably visit an endive cultivation inside an old German blockhouse. /// © Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
On the last weekend of April, Bordeaux put on its finest clothes to celebrate 48 hours of urban agriculture (48h de l’agriculture urbaine).
It must seem strange to read this news when France is still under lockdown, yet the event was quite legal, with 2,000 citizens allowed to discover agriculture in its many forms. “The event, which we have been planning since November 2020, was able to continue because we divided it into 60 micro-events scattered throughout the city, and a lot of them were outdoors,” said Marie-Agathe Widlöcher, one of the organisators. It was also necessary to meet strict sanitary conditions, which meant that almost every event received no more than six people, including the facilitator, with reservations made beforehand and mask-wearing was mandatory.
It was the event’s third edition in Bordeaux after a two-year gap. Marie-Agathe Widlöcher explained that they had been planning to “do it differently from previous years, long before the second and third waves of the pandemic. For example, several associations of shared gardens, farms or agri-food professionals were contacted to make direct visits to their workplaces.”
Salomon Mouawad of the association Les incroyables comestibles said: “The goal is to reconnect people to nature just as they connect to their WiFi by raising awareness of the soil and its properties.” That’s why his association opened its doors to the shared garden it had been taking care of to show it off to city-dwellers for a weekend.
Marie-Agathe Widlöcher was also pleased to receive the support of the Chamber of Urban Agriculture, Agrobio Gironde and La Ruche qui dit Oui !, which connect them with various players in the food chain.
Farmers turn out for the rendezvous
“Our goal is to connect farmers and citizens, so the latter can gain a better understanding of the food cycle right down to when it arrives on their plates. The cycle from production to purchasing might involve the MIN* of Bordeaux or a solidarity grocery store in the neighbourhood,” said Widlöcher. The events were very diverse, with attendees invited to visit La ferme de Pauline in Lormont, Le jardin de Quentin in Eysines (a traditional farm), or an endive cultivation inside an old German blockhouse. “Farmers were very interested in the event because they want citizens to have a better understanding of their work. We would have liked to have had more farmers contributing to the event, but it is a big time for them and not everyone was able to attend. As they were micro-events of half an hour or an hour, this facilitated their participation. And we are already very grateful to all those who were able to take part,” said Widlöcher.
48 hours of urban agriculture is a national-scale event that is organised differently depending on the city. La SAUGE operates coordinates the various events up and down the country from its headquarters in Paris to ensure global communication on the internet and social networks. The organisers of this festival hope the event will spread to the international sphere, with editions in Spain or Belgium, as several groups in each country have expressed an interest in participating.