Background to the programme
Faced with the precariousness in which rural areas find themselves, Jean-Guy Henckel had the idea of creating an innovative support for integrating people with the workforce: organic farming workshops as an integration projects.
Inspired by Swiss farming associations who sell directly, he created the first Cocagne garden in an Accommodation and Social Reintegration Centre in Chalezeule (29) in 1991.
The Cocagne network today comprises 130 garden integration projects in France.
Objectives of the programme
The Cocagne Garden Network:
• The main objective of the garden network is to support people who are in social and professional difficulty in finding sustainable employment.
• The Cocagne garden network offers baskets of 6-8 seasonal, organic vegetables to members of the association with short distribution chains.
The Cocagne network aims to:
• Support the activities in the gardens and make them long lasting.
• Harmonise practices within gardens,
• Develop the local network
• Represent the gardens in the network when approaching various partners
The Cocagne Gardens's Network:
The people being integrated work on fixed-term placement contracts within the garden network.
• Employee training in the farming trade
• Socio-professional support: development of the person's professional project, training/employment search
The Cocagne Network:
• Expansion: The network advises and supports the gardens in its network
• Pooling of internal practices and experiences (evaluation procedure ...)
• Ensure the external communication of the Cocagne gardens
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
• Dynamic rate of employment on leaving (CDD (fixed term), CDI (permanent), training): 46% in 2012 and 48% in 2013
• Rate of those leaving the project for sustainable employment (CDD/CDI> 6 months, internship, business creation) increased from 14.8% in 2012 to 17% in 2013
• Turnover in 2013: €16 million including 12 million from sales of organic vegetable
Label obtained: Organic Farming
It was the first integration project in France that meets these two needs at the same time:
• Need for commercialisation of organic vegetables
• Need for social support
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
The Cocagne network numbers 30 partners in total, including 23 private partners, 8 public partners and 9 working partners.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of the partners in the
• Private partners: Fape EDF, GRDF, Botanic, Naturalia, BricoPrivé.com Elior ...
• Public partners: European Social Fund, Mutuelle Agricole Social CCD, several regions ...
• Working Partner: Mouves, Avise, Le rameau…
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
• Financial: Difficulty in accessing public funds
• Land: To be profitable, the gardens must own 5-7 hectares of land
• Competition: Many associative enterprises offer organic vegetable baskets
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
• Find other partners
• Improve local communication to obtain new members
• Pool internal practices and experiences
• Propose new activities: maintenance of green space or an environmental site, sale of organic flowers, organic catering services
Suggestions for future improvement :
• Creation of organic restaurants or supply provisions to a collective catering service
• Home Delivery
• Set up gardens in urban areas
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
• A motivated and experienced team of professionals
• Effective internal communication