Feeding all of humanity while preserving our ecosystem is without doubt one of the major challenges facing our generation and those that follow. The entire food and agriculture chain therefore must be a priority when thinking about cities of the future. When the vegetable garden was designed, it had several converging aims. The first was to highlight the importance of short supply chains by producing fruit and vegetables to be consumed on the campus. The second was to provide an area in which to experiment with sustainable production methods based on a virtuous circle, with waste becoming a resource. Lastly, due to its experimental nature and the questions it raises, the vegetable garden needed to be a place for sharing knowledge, meeting others and taking time out to relax.
More than just another alternative form of agriculture, permaculture proposes a new model for society, based on fairer and more sustainable human and social values. The emphasis here is on respecting the soil and mankind, with one of the many aims being to put an end to the preconceived idea that productive agriculture cannot exist without single-crop farming and chemical input. Therefore, permaculture is a deliberate choice, given the principles it conveys.
Thus, a virtuous chain was put in place by biodiversity expert Jeroen Bogers and Pierre Naze, project manager with a number of NGOs. The vegetable garden supplies the vegetarian restaurant with fruits and vegetables grown from rustic organic seeds. In addition to being a genuine reservoir of biodiversity (almost 150 different varieties), the garden ensures the nutritive and gustatory qualities of the products are preserved. After these little-known varieties have been served to diners, the peelings and left-overs are sorted and recycled at the Compost’Air. Built in part from recycled plastic, this composting station is innovative in that it uses forced air to accelerate the compost’s maturation. After three to four months, the compost is directly spread on the seedlings in the bioclimatic greenhouse (self-sufficient in energy) to produce the next generation of vegetables and aromatic plants for the garden, underlining thecamp’s commitment to ensuring the continued existence of a local biodiversity zone.