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Community garden - Le Clos Saint Lazare

Award category
Reinvented places to meet and share
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS AWARDS : existing completed examples
Project title
Community garden - Le Clos Saint Lazare
Full project title
Community Garden - Le Clos Saint Lazare, Stains, France
The Clos Saint Lazare community garden is first and foremost a place to meet and exchange, where residents are invited to spend convivial moments around a fun and educational activity : gardening. In 2020, several hundred vegetables and herbs were planted there, 70 boxes of herbal teas were produced thanks to the garden. Each workshop is an opportunity for the inhabitants who wish to do so to create links with their neighbors, between generations, and to put their hands in the earth
Where was your project implemented in the EU?
Le Clos Saint Lazare
When was your project implemented?
Has your project benefited from EU programmes or funds?
Which programme(s) or fund(s)? Provide the name of the programme(s)/fund(s), the strand/action line as relevant and the year.
Please provide a summary of your project
Le Clos Saint Lazare is located in Stains and designated as one of the “sensitive urban areas” of Paris suburbs. The public landlord reached out to Merci Raymond to build a project on a polluted wasteland in order to stimulate “green thumbs” among the inhabitants of the neighborhood. The objective was to bring the neighborhood together around a common, meaningful and unifying project.   Merci Raymond thought of this place as a place of life and meeting around Nature. With a size of 600m2 the place offered enough space for the installation of a productive and educational garden. We therefore designed a mandala garden, with a sufficient surface for the production of fruits, vegetables and aromatic plants, and arranged it so that it could welcome animations and workshops with the inhabitants. In the center of the "mandala" garden, a geodesic greenhouse has been installed for seedlings. The greenhouse also integrates a drying rack for the production of herbal teas from the garden's herbs.  The community garden of Le Clos Saint-Lazare has now been working for a year and a half. Merci Raymond  continues to organize activities every month with the neighborhood, giving the opportunity to discover the art of gardening for many families who had never experienced it before. Mothers and children are particularly committed to the garden, they actively participate in the maintenance tasks.
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of sustainability and how these have been met
The community garden of le Clos Saint Lazare, beyond its social dimension (further explained in question 4), was designed to address environmental issues faced in the area, following various objectives : 1) Bringing back nature into a very mineral neighborhood : Integrating a productive garden was an optimal solution to address the lack of nature in the area while creating a manual activity for the inhabitants. More than 500 plants have been planted since the beginning of the garden. 2) Developing an agricultural project following virtuous models like permaculture : In line with the agglomeration's efforts to promote local distribution channels and virtuous production models, we designed the community garden to encourage contact between the inhabitants and nature. A 200 square-meters mandala garden and 6 raised planter boxes were installed on the former wasteland, where vegetables, fruits, and aromatic herbs. 3) Raising awareness about ecological issues, healthy and sustainable food, and nature : Co-designing the garden with the neighbors was a great opportunity for them to learn about gardening. Two children's recreation centers took part in the workshops organized by Merci Raymond. 4) Reusing, recycling, reducing wastes : An automatic watering system and a rainwater collector have been installed to maintain the garden. We also built a public bookcase to encourage other forms of exchanges between neighbors. 5) Economic activity & employment : A partnership was created with an association for the employment of a person in charge of the maintenance of the garden. In addition, seventy boxes of herbal teas were produced from the garden's plants, for family consumption in the first year, and partnerships are being set up with restaurants to sell them this year. The funds generated will be reinvested in gardening tools. 
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these have been met
The community garden of le Clos Saint Lazare has clearly helped improve the image of the neighborhood. It constitutes a green island in the middle of the many large buildings that compose the landscape. The space is designed around the Mandala garden and its greenhouse. It is composed of a wide variety of plants, among which many melliferous flowers that contribute to foster biodiversity and help repel parasitic insects in addition to their aesthetic contribution.  In terms of experience, the numerous activities and workshops organized these last two years gathered more than 50 participants, many of them coming on a regular basis. Our team members organize and animate these workshops, putting their pedagogical and technical skills at the service of the participants. From the conception of the garden to the preparation of herbal teas, everything is done hand in hand with the inhabitants, taking into account their needs and wants. 
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of inclusion and how these have been met
Beyond the environmental and ecological issues that are important to us, this project is above all a social initiative. The project was originally conceived as a productive garden, although the primary objective is to offer an educational and meaningful activity to the inhabitants.  Reconnecting people to nature, all generations included, is the DNA of Merci Raymond, and we are convinced that people from disadvantaged backgrounds must not be forgotten in this process. Many people in the neighborhood had never had the opportunity to get their hands in the soil or learn about gardening. "Gardening is beautiful, it's wonderful! I feel at home again here", says a mother attending a workshop. And she is right, gardening is a great way to bring people together, give them a common purpose.  We aimed to revitalize the neighborhood life through this common project. We wanted to make this garden a place of exchange, between neighbors, between generations. The inhabitants were invited to play their part through each step of the project: in designing stage of the garden, in planting and harvesting, designing the herbal tea boxes, preparing the tea, etc.   
Please give information on the results/impacts achieved by your project in relation to the category you apply for
"Reinvented places to meet and share"  From a polluted wasteland located in a suburb, we went to a productive garden that offers more than a simple activity, it brings the inhabitants together around a purpose. Everyone is invited to participate in the project, until the time of harvest when the inhabitants gather to share a meal cooked with the vegetables of the garden!  Le Clos Saint Lazare in a few figures (for the year 2020, first year) :   - 330 herbs planted in the mandala garden - 118 vegetable plants planted in the containers - 15 workshop dates in 2020 between July and the end of October - About ten participants per workshop and DIY animation - 2 children's recreation centers took part in the workshops - 6 autonomous permaculture planter boxes installed (water tank) - 1 mandala garden of 15 m diameter irrigated with an automatic watering system - 1 geodesic greenhouse installed - 1 herbal dryer installed - 70 boxes of herbal tea created in 2020 - 1 person employed for maintenance 
Please explain the way citizens benefiting from or affected by the project and civil society have been involved in the project and what has been the impact of this involvement on the project
Our methodology : 1. Local diagnosis - census and phone exchanges with the associations and associations and referent actors of the neighborhood. 2. Consultation workshops with the neighborhood referents to prioritize and choose together the : ○ objectives of the place and themes ○ desired modules ○ workshops and activities 3. Information meetings to present the project and choose the plants with the future users and door-to-door (flyers). 4. Assessment workshops carried out twice a year during the operating phase of the garden   This project has clearly stimulated green vocations among the inhabitants, especially mothers and children. Many of them have told us that they want to continue learning about gardening. 
Please highlight the innovative character of the project
The innovative character of this project lies in its capacity to combine social, economic, and environmental missions, addressing this way the three pillars of sustainability at the same time. It obviously isn't a disruptive innovation or a new technology, but a unique approach to inclusion. It relies on nature to unite a neighborhood and create a common ambition, while improving the image of the area.  A real community has appeared around this garden, the inhabitants share a common experience, moments of joy, and fertile relationships are emerging from this garden. 
Please explain how the project led to results or learnings which could be transferred to other interested parties
The main lesson to remember from this project is the importance of co-construction. This requires the development of strong relationships with the residents and neighborhood associations. In the case of Clos Saint Lazare, the neighborhood mothers' association played a key role in the development and integration of the project. The objective is to empower the inhabitants to make the project their own, while accompanying them in the reflection and technical parts.  In more practical terms, co-construction involves regular consultation during neighborhood meetings, and the involvement of residents in each stage of the project: sowing, planting, harvesting, processing, etc. 
Is an evaluation report or any relevant independent evaluation source available?
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed project has not been proposed for the Awards more than once under the same category and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.


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