Servan’s garden

Our Permaculture Pedagogical Garden

Starting in 2021 as a pilot project on the Albatross site in the Loire, the Jardin de Servan aims to develop sustainable agriculture, respecting the environment, promoting biodiversity with waste recycling.

Its objective is to sensitize and educate young people to ” grow and eat well” .
Pedagogical tools and methods are being studied to deliver innovative education.

The spirit of the Pedagogical Garden Project

This project is part of the activities of the Albatross Foundation, which aims to educate young people about sustainable development.

This educational garden initiative started with volunteers in April 2021 is intended to become a structured incubator for teaching ” growing and eating well.” The Jardin de Servan is therefore as much a space for education as it is an incubation process for projects related to sustainable development.

Such an incubator will have to follow an economic model that ensures the sustainability and profitability of the project by integrating existing and future resources and activities on the site, so that they serve as a support for the incubated projects, such as the exploitation and profitability of the existing AlbaHome 1 and Albahome 2 infrastructures to be converted into a modular space (for seasonal rentals, organization of seminars and events, etc.). Also, a certain profitability can be ensured by the Albatross market place:

The origin of the Project and its evolution

Le Jardin de Servan was born from the conjunction of several benevolent energies of different origins.

The first spark came from the desire to materialize the “Earth” pillar of the Albatross Foundation.

The lines of thought are:

  1. To produce food locally, thanks to resources of the direct environment and consumed in hyper short circuit.
  2. Finding innovative sources of food
  3. Draw from local agriculture sustainable and environmentally friendly building materials
  4. Coordinate these efforts to preserve the planet, particularly with regard to climate issues.

The Launch of the Servan Garden

Thanks to the coordinated goodwill of friends of Albatross (advisor to the Chamber of Agriculture, Agronomist, restaurant owners, market gardeners, veterinarians, legal and economic advisors and other motivated volunteers) the project of a permaculture vegetable garden was first developed. The goal is to reconnect young people to Mother Earth in a respectful and sustainable way.

On the site of the Albatross Foundation, a piece of virgin land was invested and one beautiful Sunday in May, everyone rolled up their sleeves and the adventure began.

A small plot of 680 m2 with a small orchard and facing south has been invested. Guided by our market gardener, we have modestly set up growing areas using local resources (cardboard, grass clippings, horse manure, leaves, wood, hay, composting fed by the peelings/coffee grounds/egg shells of the partner restaurant, …).

Without a preliminary soil study, nor any particular knowledge of market gardening, we tried to create a virtuous circle by taming virgin soil, using the environment to bring in natural fertilizers, and starting a fork-to-fork movement through a valuable partnership with a local restaurant.

First bet 2021 successful! In April 2021, a first harvest was sold to a local restaurant.

And this was only the beginning of the beautiful adventure. With the help of the Chamber of Agriculture and the Agricultural School of Précieux, we were able to find a project leader to perpetuate and expand the garden. Henri-Alexis Charlat, who has an agricultural background (including ongoing training with the Centre de Ressources de Botanique Appliquée) and which aims to create its own structure (“La Sauvageonne”) from the project developed within Albatross with an incubator role.

The support of EM Lyon students

The preparation of the land for the second cycle of vegetable production has begun since February 2022 with the involvement of the children and students of EM Lyon/Noise. Since March 20, 2022, about thirty students from EM Lyon have come to help extend the cultivation areas and prepare all the vegetable seedlings.

At the same time, in 2022, the implementation of participatory permaculture and agro-forestry workshops with students began.

The support of the high school students of Forez

On Monday, December 12, 2022, 9 students from the Lycée du Forez in Feurs volunteered to participate in a first training session in partnership with the Albatross Foundation.
The student volunteers benefited from the intervention of two professionals:

  • an agricultural engineer who was able to introduce them to the importance of knowing the soil and explain what a “living soil” is. Florent, the first speaker, also took the time to share his knowledge of forestry before having our students plant fig, plum and peach trees.
  • The second speaker, Aurélien, is an agroecological market gardener in Saint Marcel de Félines. He asked the 9 volunteers to prepare the soil for winter using materials found on site to amend the soil and protect it from the cold.

Our students had fun collecting dead leaves, horse manure, cardboard and hay and organizing future planting bays.

This day was very rich for the students who were rewarded with good hot chocolates and a snack offered.
The 9 volunteers are already ready to continue their efforts in future sessions to see this educational garden grow even more.

History of the Servan Garden

Servan’s Garden was named after Servan Marze, who passed away on April 11, 2017 at the age of 20. It is Ghislaine Bouillet-Cordonner, founder of Albatross and friend of Pierre and Anabelle Marze, who took back his name to give it to the Garden which was created “bon enfant” at the Domaine du Buis, in Pouilly-lès-Feurs. Servan was inspired by integral ecology, which has as its foundation Relation: the intrinsic interconnection of the different aspects of the planetary ecosystem of which we are a part. It is the Link, which mainly defines this current of thought. The social and human aspects are particularly emphasized. It was on his bicycle that Servan found his death, a means of transportation that was militant towards him. It is in his honor that this name persists, as a commemoration; both a reminder of the ephemerality of life, but also, of the direction in which the wind leads us together.

Future projects

Innovative power sources

A project is under study concerning the cultivation of spirulina as a food of tomorrow thanks to its particularly high protein content.

The building materials of tomorrow

In the current situation of shortage of materials, rising prices and lack of local production, our consulting architect gave us the idea of a project of planting giant bamboos to satisfy a sustainable, renewable and ecological architecture.

What about the climate?

In order to better study the effects of climate stress on living organisms, we have been selected to participate in a study conducted by the CNRS on a BLOB that will arrive at the end of March 2022. The progress can be followed on the Facebook page of the Jardin de Servan.

Albatross has also responded to a call for applications to participate in the water festival planned in Lyon in early July… To be continued…

The main participants in the project

Key players:

  • Dr. Ghislaine Bouillet Cordonnier, Founder and President of Albatross Foundation and Create2donate.
  • Henri-Alexis Charlat, VP Servan Project, Master in Physical Geography, in agricultural training. He plans the cultivation of the market garden and provides training. The work he has done with Albatross and for the creation of the Jardin Pédagogique de Servan will eventually allow him to create his own structure “La Sauvageonne”.
  • Dr Françoise Corbesier, Veterinarian, second to H-A Charlat in the market garden, is preparing the Bamboo project (later phase)

People in support:

  • Vanessa and Bertrand Monneret, restaurant owners, buy the market garden produce and return the vegetable waste for composting.
  • Sébastien Righini, VP Saphir Project, member of the Albatross Board of Directors, R&I Solvay.
  • Rudy Toulotte, architect and expert in sustainable housing.
  • Herve Deville, insurer, provides Albatross with Domaine Buis, General Manager of the Create2donate marketplace.
  • A volunteer team of more than 15 people (including a market gardener, an educational farm, a veterinarian specializing in bees, a builder of farm buildings, an FAO expert, an agricultural engineer, an owner of an equestrian center and a youth recreation center).
  • Students from EM Lyon/Noise assisting with soil preparation and cultivation while learning about permaculture.
  • The children of the volunteers.