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From the Garden to the Restaurants of the Heart: a springboard initiative for employment integration

Summary : Since 2005, the Jardin d'Insertion in Villeneuve d'Ascq (town of Lille) has managed an integration project, based on market gardening activities, whose production is collected as food aid for Restos du Coeur (Restaurants of the Heart).

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  • Start date : 2005
  • Implementation site : Lille Metropole
  • Budget : N/A
  • Source and details on funding : Donations


  • Restos du Coeur
  • 101 rue de Charles Castermant
  • 59150 Wattrelos
  • Employees : 13
  • Volunteers : 1777


Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  05/08/2015 00:00
Opinion of the Committee : Source of inspiration ! Incomplete description of the programme
Solution(s) : Farming and food Job social economy
Country :  France, Mayotte
Stature of the programme :  Local
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Unemployed persons, Bottom Of the Pyramid (BOP)
  • Domain :  Work, Education, Training, Food aid

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Poverty France » (Lille)

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : DUHEM Christian , « From the Garden to the Restaurants of the Heart: a springboard initiative for employment integration », **Journal RESOLIS** (2015)

Background to the programme

The project, Jardin d’insertion (Integration Garden), was born in the Paris branch of the Restos du Cœur to develop its employment integration branch. Since, this initiative has spread to other Restos du Cœur delegations: in 2014, 126 gardens were registered nationally. In the Lille metropole, the branch in the town of Villeneuve d'Ascq has implemented this project.

Objectives of the programme

- Allow beneficiaries to access sustainable employment in the short and medium term, either a professional contract or skills training

- Restoring confidence and an adequate rhythm of life to any jobseeker

Implemented actions

- The recipients of the RSA (Social benefit allowances) are guided by their social worker towards the project.

- Work in the form of subsidised contracts, 26 hours per week, renewable for a maximum of two years

- Mission: tack charge of all gardening, growing and farming activities

- A technical supervisor is permanently on site to monitor their work, their progress and provide guidance and instruction.

- The garden operates all year.

- Annexed to other projects on the kitchen trade (employing 10 people) and to the site of Restos du Cœur depot which operates with 20 employees. The produce grown in the garden is given to the kitchen and used for the distribution of soup during soup runs.

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

- 2014: 6 people working in the garden.

- Reduction in the number of beneficiaries of this programme due to the reduction of the plot allocated by the municipality

- Each year, about 1/10th of the people benefitting from the programme found employment.

- The current public is often older than 50 years old.

- Diversification of supply sources

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

Pôle Emploi, Eaux du Nord (financing the construction of two chalets), General Council, municipality of Villeneuve d'Ascq


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

- Decrease in grants in the field of employment integration which had the consequence of stopping the lessons offered in parallel.

- Not knowing the background of people being reintegrated with the workforce.

- Changing legislation on subsidised contracts (notably during their duration)

- Finding a job in the "traditional" world of work can be difficult for beneficiaries of the programme.

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

- Meeting between all the integration gardens in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region

- A partnership with the "green spaces" service by the town council of Villeneuve d'Ascq was created. They hired some beneficiaries on a trial basis.

Suggestions for future improvement :

- Currently in contact with the municipality to expand the area

- Liaise with RSA representatives of the beneficiaries in order to understand their background and their previous difficulties

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

- Establish a relationship of trust between the technical supervisor and the people being reintegrated

- Respect the recipients, understand them while laying down strict limits to prepare them for the professional world

- Be present to promulgate their advice

- Motivate the beneficiaries

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