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Cultivating solidarity: Breton vegetable gardens to help the most disadvantaged

Brittany, famous for its picturesque beauty and rich culture, is more than just its landscapes. Behind the postcard facade lie realities that most would prefer to ignore. Many Breton families struggle to make ends meet, facing persistent economic and social challenges. But within this community, hope takes root when, in the form of a garden, it blooms every day.

We’d like our Mandala vegetable garden, although it doesn’t carry an ‘organic’ label, to be a model of sustainability and generosity. The vegetables that grow there mature in the best possible conditions, thanks to the attentive care and love we lavish on them. The secret of its success will lie in our passion and commitment to a cause bigger than ourselves.

The story of this project of hope began when we realised that food was being wasted all around us. Too many ‘off-grade’ harvests were being abandoned, while families nearby were still struggling to feed themselves.

The initiative got off to a modest start in 2023 with the first harvests from this 500 m2 vegetable garden, which we are distributing thanks to the association helping families in difficulty in Riec-sur-Bélon. Over time, we want this vegetable garden to become increasingly productive, learning from our first mistakes as novice gardeners. We’re learning to grow a wide variety of vegetables:

  • Potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, courgettes, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkins, artichokes, beetroot, radishes, melons, beans, peas, maize, aubergines, lettuce, etc.

Respect for the environment and health is at the heart of our approach, and no chemicals are used. We try to make the best possible use of traditional growing methods by combining ‘friendly’ plants that will limit pests and leave us with a large quantity of fruit and vegetables.

But it’s not just the food that has made the difference. It’s the love and solidarity that are cultivated here that have a real impact on the families in need.

The regular distribution of harvests from the kitchen garden is a much-awaited moment for families in need. Baskets of staple foods are supplemented with fresh vegetables offered to those who need them most.

We hope to give them access to healthier, more nutritious food, but above all to contribute to their sense of inclusion in a community that cares about them. While this solidarity can have a positive effect on their self-esteem and morale, we hope that the children will also grow up learning the importance of mutual help and the environment.

We hope that this initiative will inspire other gardeners in the area and that these gardens of hope will inspire even more communities in Brittany to undertake similar initiatives. Even without the resources of a certified organic farm, it is possible to make a significant difference to the lives of disadvantaged people simply by sharing what the land with the help of our labour can offer.

As the seasons go by, we hope to continue to grow the garden and prove that when people come together with a common goal, they can change lives and cultivate hope…

If you still have some vegetables in your garden or some fruit in your orchard, don’t hesitate to contact us to take part in the distribution project: