In 1898, Mrs Changeux created the association « L’oeuvre des jardins ouvriers de Reims » to manage and develop worker gardens. They were vegetable gardens or collective amenities for the workers due to the economic crisis in districts of Sainte-Clotilde, Saint-Remi, Saint-André or Saint-Thomas. In 22 years, 129 gardens were created.
Then, family gardens are developed by municipality and managed by associations that rent plots to inhabitants. Anybody may apply for a family garden, and municipality makes a choice taking into account the family situation and the age of the demand (around 1,621 plots managed by 12 associations). Each year, more than 100 applications are submitted.
Since 2009, another form of collective garden has appeared. Parcels are given by municipality to a collective of inhabitants that animates and cultivates this plot. City of Reims has 9 community gardens, related to other projects such as give box. The objectives are to promote solidarity, environmental knowledge, creativity. There is problematic about the negotiation of a land, the equipment of plots and the way to manage this in a long-term.
The artist-musician (Yan Béréhouc) has become president of the association Cultures Saint-Gilles; he creates events in the city-center of Reims. The vision is related to a human and urban ecology, a form of participatory democracy. Despite initial hostilities and degradations, perseverance has created new neighborhood solidarities.
In 2016, the AGORAé student association (a social grocery store to fight student precariousness) helped the revalorization of the community garden of League of Education. Association has developed partnerships to open this garden to the inhabitants of the district and beyond.
Nowadays, the city of Reims supports a new participatory way to green the city: the creation of vegetable bins by the Incredible Edibles since 2016. The goal of this participative citizen movement is to use parts of the public space to plant vegetables and edible plants. In addition to support for Incredible Edibles, motivated residents are invited to plant their facades. After a feasibility study, the service of green spaces will give them a boost by preparing the land and providing plants (shrubs or climbing plants) and some valuable advice.
The implementation of community gardens in an urban area (the city of Reims), since 2009, is is in the historical continuity of worker gardens and family gardens. The implementation of these gardens was politically (in front of the demand for urban green) and socially (in front of disintegration of social bonds) necessary.
Implementation takes place through 9 community gardens in Reims, created by associations of inhabitants (community centres, students, etc.), or real estate developers, in collaboration with municipality of Reims. These projects take into account the local features, and the historicity of the phenomenon. The sustainable turn is related to urban agriculture: demand for organic food, enhancement of relationships, improvement of links between rural and urban worlds and food supplement for the most vulnerable. This a local organic production and consumption.
First conflicts are related to the aims of the project: on the one hand, everybody can create a private garden in rural area and social relationships are normally strong; on the other hand, the former community gardens in urban area were for precarious workers (food need) and they are now involved by bourgeois-bohemians. Second conflicts are related to the choice and planning of the site which often belongs to the municipality. Third conflicts are related to the implementation of the community garden (that needs a water source for instance): they are political and financial conflicts solved by a charter. Moreover, questions arise about the management at a long-term if target populations evolve (such as students): what kind of governance?
The 9 community gardens are located all over the city. We are interested by the implementation of the community garden Ilot Saint-Gilles in the city-center (created in 2011 by 10 inhabitants) and the community garden of League of Education next to popular and university neighborhoods (created in 2016 with a student association).
In the urban area of city of Reims. The 9 community gardens are located in the main ecological corridors. The community garden Ilot Saint-Gilles extends on 0,025 ha; and the community garden of League of Education extends on 0,054 ha.