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Les Saveurs du Bois du Ro c: working the land to grow self-esteem

Nouvelle-Aquitaine - Monestier
Access to employment

This social integration workshop allows people in difficulty to find their way back to employment by spending six months discovering organic market gardening.



Helping and passing it on: two values that sum up Patrick Dargère’s goal when founding his association, Les Saveurs du Bois du Roc. At age 60, this former education specialist decided to take up a new activity that would allow him to ‘renew his personal energy by creating while continuing to help others’.

His social integration workshop began activities ‘on 1 July 2011, with six people seeking integration, one market gardener, one project lead [editor’s note: himself] and one support worker’. The social integration workshop is open to the unemployed, who are offered a renewable 6-month contract for 26 hours a week. At Saveurs du Bois du Roc, the staff are mainly over the age of 50 because ‘seniors have experience to share,’ insists Patrick Dargère. Here, market gardening is a means to support people seeking integration and help them find the road to employment. ‘It is very interesting to grow organic. It meets a real demand,’ explains the founder.

Positive results

Thanks to a large start-up grant from the VINCI Foundation—€23,000 for the purchase of a small truck and cold room—Les Saveurs du Bois du Roc have been able to consolidate and grow its activity. ‘We delivered 50 baskets of organic produce every week in 2011. In 2012, we delivered 120 baskets a week. We were accredited for 12 people seeking integration, worked 1.2 hectares of land, ran 25,000 sq. m. of greenhouses, and hired two part-time secretaries,’ says the project lead.

Les Saveurs du Bois du Roc worked with 18 people in 2012: two of them have found permanent jobs, another two found short-term employment, and two took a qualifying training courses. A good outcome, according to Patrick Dargère.

Marc Novarro, the association’s sponsor and highway worker for ASF (VINCI Autoroutes) in Coutras, appreciates the role he’s held for two years: ‘I visit Les Saveurs du Bois du Roc and act as a link to the Foundation. I take the opportunity to help with the market gardening, and get to know the people who are being helped by the association. This sponsorship has allowed me to discover the world of integration and become aware of the difficulties some face.’ In 2013, the association plans to work three hectares of land and deliver 240 baskets every week.

February 2013 © Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

VINCI Foundation works with Reporters d'Espoirs, a French news agency, to highlight and share the innovative social initiatives that it supports. The arrangement includes the writing of articles and exchange on topics that lead to solutions. Thus presented, the initiatives, validated using the criteria of the editorial charter of Reporters d'Espoirs, are intended to demonstrate their development and results.