Génissac Agricultural Test Area, a permanent asset (33)

Multi-partner schemes aimed at promoting agricultural installations, agricultural test areas spread step by step in France. They are now around sixty, supported by local authorities, cooperatives, associations or agricultural chambers and gathered within the national network of agricultural test areas (Renata). Génissac, a small town in Libournais, took up the concept and wanted to revitalize the local organic agricultural production in a mainly wine-growing area.

“The story began in 2015, when the town hall bought about six hectares of land formerly dedicated to vines from Safer, with already the desire to develop organic horticulture for Genissacais”, explains Émeline Brisseau, Mayor of Génissac for just a few months.

The project matures … and a little more than two years later, “The municipality signs an agreement with the local association Ecosystem a land for all, to develop, manage and animate these six hectares, very quickly divided into five plots that mix common gardens, educational garden for school children, horticultural areas … and test area. Therefore, continues Isabelle Bouchon-Peaucelle, Deputy Mayor.

In April 2020, a gardener and a flower grower moved into the test room. Result of a three-way collaboration between City Hall, Ecosystem a country for all, and the cooperative of solidarity entrepreneurs Co-actions, the test area “Enable these new farmers to take advantage of land, water and electricity provided by City Hall. They are supported, with technical support, provided by Ecosystem. Finally a contract support for the business project (Cape) enables them to continue to benefit from assistance, such as Active Solidarity Income. In addition, Coactions makes its Siret number available to the litters and offers them administrative and legal support if necessary. “ explains Florence Ardouin, project coordinator at Ecosystem. In return, the fry, accompanied for a maximum of three years, undertake to look after the soil and cultivate organically.

A lightweight and adaptable device

“The special thing about the Génissac test room is that it is on land where different activities exist side by side, which makes it possible to gather small equipment … and enrichment together, always with a view to promoting sustainable agriculture”, emphasizes Florence Ardouin.

“It also makes the device particularly adaptable if necessary. », Comments Virginie Robin, responsible for rural and territorial development in the urban community of Libournais (Cali). In fact, the Community is supporting the project through participation in its steering group and thanks to grants to the Ecosystem: an annual operating grant of € 1,100 and another, variable, depending on the number of accompanying fry – up to € 7,300 for three fry.

The area is also relatively modest – the flower grower is installed on 3,500 m2, the gardener on 5,000 m2. “But it is also one of its strengths: also to be adapted to a small municipality’s financial resources. Demonstrate that a project of this type is possible without the need to invest thousands and cents once the land has been acquired ”, they both add.

Inter-municipal dynamics

Émeline Brisseau agrees and stresses how much the multi-partner aspect of the project is crucial for a small town like Génissac ”. Especially since you have to think about after …

After more than two years of testing its activity, the florist will soon settle in the suburbs of Bordeaux while the gardener plans to stay in the city. “For the communities involved in this type of project, it is important that the youngsters remain, if not in their territory, at least not far away. But if everyone settled in the areas where they are testing their activity. “There would be no more test space. And settling nearby presupposes that land is available.” comments Virginie Robin.

“L“Cali’s investment in the project is therefore significant”, emphasizes Florence Ardouin. It also carries out a project for two other test rooms, short-lived, on its territory, on municipal or private land, with support at the time of the test and the promise of a lease for an installation. And she’s coming too, Virginie Robin adds, ”To have a specialized design office assess the quality of the land on five plots in five municipalities in the urban community. »

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