On October 15, 2019, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole signed the French Professional Urban Farming Association charter. The goal is to support producers by reinforcing their ties with residents.
From creating vegetable gardens on rooftops to planting herbs and salad at the doorstep of businesses and growing strawberries in connected containers, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole wants farming initiatives to flourish in cities, “so people can eat well, while reconnecting city dwellers with their food and its producers.” This includes crops based on both traditional methods and hi-tech approaches, such as that taken by Champignons d’Occitanie, a company that produces pleurote mushrooms on coffee grinds in a basement in downtown Montpellier.
To help farmers get organized, with producers based at properties or buildings owned by Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, local authorities recently signed a charter agreement written by the French Professional Urban Farming Association (AFAUP). The charter clarifies good practices with respect to water and waste management, biodiversity, food security, and the circular economy. It will also help establish strong ties among urban farming professionals, notably landscapers, architects, and developers. For example, these experts can audit projects and help make sure they are feasible. They could also help write detailed project specifications and requirements.
Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole is fully committed to developing direct-to-consumer and local circuits, notably enabling the Condamine urban farm to set up in the Millénaire business district, producing organic fruit and vegetables on a 5-hectare site. Local authorities also supported a research project carried out by Paul Valéry University, Inra, and CEFE at Oasis Citadine, on agroecological practices inspired by permaculture seeking to recreate living ground in an urban context.
This urban farm was created at Flaugergues, private property on Montpellier’s east side, where city dwellers go to learn how to cultivate their gardens.
“Urban farming is also an educational undertaking, as transforming our cities and food system is a key part of the ecological transition, “ explains Sébastien Girault, co-founder of the collaborative farm. “With this tool, Montpellier Métropole will bring green back to the city by providing new possibilities in the urgent fight against climate change,” he adds.