The Prevalaye project : People, culture, agriculture, and urbanism

Strengthening the links between town and country, between culture and agriculture

January 2019

Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso (FDNC)

Towards a Europe of territorial food systems?

This study is extracted from the analysis of twenty-two French and Spanish projects related to new food models, all highlighting different challenges.

In Spain, governance is being built, while French food systems are looking for solutions to change scale. But in both countries, accessibility remains the weak link. In the Vilaine valley in Brittany, the Prévalaye paysanne plurielle project aims to restore a nourishing vocation to the peri-urban territory of the metropolis of Rennes. Beyond the limited productive dimension, the actors wish to make it a pilot project on agricultural and food issues, the results of which could spread throughout the valley.

The plural peasant prevalent project aims to restore a nourishing vocation to a peri-urban agricultural territory. At the gateway to the city of Rennes (35), 450 hectares of land welcome a large public of joggers and walkers around its ponds. This land belongs to the city of Rennes and is not suitable for building. Since the launch of the metro, two ecological compensation sites have been added to the list of services provided by the Prévalaye. As a place of multiple uses, it represents a strong stake for the Vilaine valley, which could infuse the project’s successes. Citizens are listening to environmental issues: according to a survey on the wishes of the people of Rennes for 2030, the themes of nature and water stand out. The Maison de la consommation et de l’environnement, a place for raising awareness among the inhabitants, is contributing to the initiative with the Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), which is mobilising elected representatives. The project is attracting civil society: a new collective has been formed to restore the building of the Château de la Prévalaye and turn it into a multifunctional place, offering a catering service, a market, environmental awareness workshops, etc.

A project dynamic made up of several phases

The trajectory of the Plural Peasant Prevalaye takes place in three phases.

A pilot project of permaculture demonstrates the interest of a territorial system

Permag’Rennes is an individual permaculture installation project, which has received support from the municipal authority via its 400 gardeners. The operator produces seeds, vegetables and aromatic plants that are sold at markets and to restaurateurs. In addition, training in market gardening is offered to individuals and schools. Experience has shown that an installation can be viable despite a low starting capital: the farmer pays a minimum wage on 2 hectares. The positive externalities created (wealth, employment, biodiversity) inspire elected representatives and bring them closer to the civil society involved in the peasant Prevalaye.