Sophie Bonin, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paysage de Versailles
Thematic link with the session "Agrarisation of the city" led by Joëlle Salomon-Cavin and Giulia Giacché
Language : French and english
Date : july 19, 9-12am (possibility of picnicking in the Potager du Roi - to bring with you, water on the spot)
Departure and end point: Versailles-Chantiers stop (RER C)
25 participants max
The last “Agricultural Revolution”, was based on the adoption of mechanization-motorization and chemization. It was the result of searching for an autonomy from the land (soil, climate, limits or frontiers), and even from the territory with a disconnection from local markets and chains of production. This has led to both the dramatically increased specialization of certain regions/territories and a great simplification of the landscapes. In many ways, agroecology aims to recreate relationships both with the characteristics of the landscape (landscape structures are integrative of soil-climate-water relationships but also of the history of human / non-human relationships built over the years), and with territorial dynamics (reconnection to local markets, upstream and downstream of agricultural activity). Thus, it is a general rule that agroecological practices are closely linked to a consideration of the landscape, and at the same time produce a more complex landscape, even if these two aspects are not always explicitly integrated into the projects. Among the transformations underway, which from being possible alternatives are now becoming widespread practices, we can cite agroforestry, conservation agriculture, direct seeding, diversified living infrastructures (hedges, permanent or temporary prairies), limited irrigation, but also the movements of urban agriculture, and the development of short economic circuits which also have spatial effects. All of them relate to issues of transformation and organization of space, at different scales, but it is the interweaving of the different temporalities involved that will be the guiding thread of this visit.
The ecological transition of agricultural systems needs to integrate the spatial dimensions of transformations, according to different and increasingly complex temporalities:
- the temporality of the farming system,
- that of the urban food project and the organization of actors
- that of urban demand which allows and exerts pressure for changes in agricultural practices: food demand but also aesthetic demand, in relation to the land and the living
- that of agroecosystems, their adaptation and their reaction to global changes which are reasoned over an even longer time step.
The two proposed sites are urban vegetable and fruit gardens in the centre of Versailles. One was created at the end of the 17th century, the other in 2021. Both are now managed according to strong agroecological principles, experimental or on the contrary based on a rich horticultural past, and on an increasingly accepted theorizations (permaculture). Their functions of production, conservation and training or awareness raising are quite similar, their questioning of public reception as well, but their economic models, heritage issues, and their respective histories are very different. How is the agroecological transition taking place on these sites? What spatial design has been put in place to ensure the multifunctionality of this agriculture? How does the renewal of food concerns in our rich cities influence the practices and development of these spaces?
Registration to the field trip "Urban vegetable gardens in Versaille"