Community gardens in Paris

por Cozinha da Márcia

th arrondissement – close to the Canal of Saint Martin. The city is divided by numbered neighborhoods, and this one is a very old one. There are even documents from the Roman occupation of France, in the sixth century, describing this region as old.

I was walking towards the Gare de L’Est when I saw this row of scarecrows, all very creatively built, the whole place looked very much like the garden of a school yard. Since it is winter there was nobody there. But, I could well imagine a school group working hard to harvest some cabbages during the next summer.

It turns out I was wrong. The garden is part of a great initiative of the city administration to occupy all available plots with flower or vegetable gardens. The initiative is called Main Verte (Green Hand), it is a political experiment in order to stimulate larger communications in a neighborhood. To own a collective vegetable garden or a flower garden all one has to do is register an association in the City Hall, present a plan and the number of persons that will work in the initiative and start working.

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If you are traveling to Paris, here is a list of the gardens, notice that not all of them have vegetables.

http://bit.ly/AAQv8i

I suggest a visit to the homepage of the initiative website, although in French it is possible to see the different types of gardens one can build.

http://bit.ly/zbPkQh

Address of the garden in the pictures:

Jardin Saint Laurent / 10e arrondissement
Square St Laurent,
68 boulevard de Magenta and 119 rue du Faubourg Saint Martin

Don´t miss the Church beside it, some parts of the building are one thousand years old (that’s right!)

Photos of the garden: Marcia Zoladz, Winter 2012

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