A look back at the first meeting between the Marseilles network of urban farmers and the network of third places of the South

A look back at the first meeting between the Marseilles network of urban farmers and the network of third places of the South

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Last year, in the course of events and meetings, the Cité de l’agriculture and its network of urban farmers crossed paths with Réseau Sud Tiers-lieux. The two networks quickly identified common agricultural and food issues. Third-places like urban farms are hybrid places that combine production, food, research-action and awareness-raising, while seeking to foster social ties in the neighborhoods where they are located.

The two networks soon decided to bring their members together for a one-day meeting, with the support of Cities 2030, with the aim of identifying avenues for joint work.

But first let’s introduce the organizers :

La Cité de l’agriculture is a Marseille-based association founded in 2015. This structure is research-action tool at the service of all, it works to ensure that everyone, at their own level, participates in the agro-ecological transition of cities. The Cité de l’agriculture aims to bring about other ways of conceiving the living, producing, sourcing, accessing food and consuming.

The Réseau Sud Tiers-lieux is an association under the French law of 1901, set up for a three-year period to promote exchanges and cooperation between third-places. Supported by and for third-places, the network has 11 third-places members on its Board of Directors, as well as several working groups: the Animation, Training and Represent-Awareness Wgs. The aim is to develop actions in response to needs and to support the development of third-party sites, in particular by setting up meetings and training courses, and to encourage local cooperation. Its main statutory objectives are to support, network, train, connect and take stock of the dynamics surrounding third places in the Southern Region.

The inter-network meeting brought together over 50 participants on March 10, 2023. The aim of this first meeting was to create a space for sharing experiences on the territory, in order to:
-Highlight the common challenges of third-party spaces and urban agriculture;
-Illustrate the dynamics of hybridization: multi-activities, business models, animation/education, research)
-Promote inter-knowledge
-Initiate joint reflection on common issues

The meeting has begun at Le Talus, a project for transforming a former landfill site into a place for innovation and discovery of agro-ecology in the city. Urban farmers and users of third places were taken on a tour of this inspiring project, which combines gardening and cultural activities for the residents of Marseille.

After the visit, participants gathered at the Grain de la Vallée third-place for a convivial zero waste & 100% plant-based meal. Le Grain de la Vallée is meant to be a place for all, accessible to all, a laboratory for experimentation and research. This third-place aims to be a place for social ties, emancipation and collective initiatives, a meeting place and sociability based on the circular economy, the knowledge economy and sharing. Here, they reinvent our models of representation, consumption, mediation and creation, using collective intelligence methods and a mix of complementary skills.

After a quick tour of the spot, participants worked throughout the afternoon in thematic workshops, led by experts, whether from the world of research, the farming community or third places. The program included the Inclusion of all kinds of audiences in third places and urban farms; Scientific research, assessment and development; Network Federation, Relationship with Institutions, Advocacy & Nourishing third places and agri-food justice.

At the day’s closing plenary session, participants hailed the emergence of a common culture between two networks with shared objectives. They also left with ideas for projects, research methods, communication tools and contacts to help them move their projects forward… and perhaps another meeting to maintain the collective momentum generated by the day?