In town, the comeback of self-service fruit trees

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PICKING In Nantes, Bordeaux, Lyon, Dijon… The trend of urban orchards, seen as nourishing and unifying, has been growing in recent years despite several obstacles to be removed < p> In the city, the strong return of self-service fruit trees

A quince in a quince tree, in the city center of Nantes — J. Urbach/20 Minutes

  • Raspberry, apple, chestnut… Shrubs and fruit trees are increasingly present in the heart of cities.
  • A way for communities to promote “local consumption” and “create social bonds”, despite the constraints that arboriculture can cause in an urban environment.

“When an apple falls on the ground and it tastes good, my son bites into it, he loves it!” At the Square du Lait de Mai, in the city center of Nantes, parents who forget the after-school snack have a plan B, free, and healthier than a chocolate bar. Just go to the grass, just behind the playground, where you’ towering apple trees currently full of fruit are at hand. the disposition of residents and passers-by. An astonishing orchard, in the middle of the buildings, which is no exception.

Less visible than in Spain where orange trees are everywhere, they would be more and more present in public spaces, outside the city. Nantes and in ever more French cities. « The trend is very strong, çit explodes, confirmed to20 MinutesJacques Savoine, àgrave; the origin of the first international conferences dedicated to edible fruit landscapes, an event organized by this Thursday and Friday which bears witness to this phenomenon. From small blueberries to large chestnut trees, nursery growers are overwhelmed!»

In town, the comeback of self-service fruit trees

The apple trees of the square du Lait-de-Mai, at Nantes – J. Urbach/20 Minutes

Feeding and uniting the neighborhood

Historically, arboriculture did have its place in the city. “Then, with mega urbanisation, the nurturing countryside moved away. In Ile-de-France, there were many orchards which gradually disappeared, observes Camille Savage, project manager at the Ile-de-France. the association Plante et Cité, which speaks of a “new awareness”. Thus, 50 trees and shrubs were planted two years ago on the quays at Bordeaux, cherries and vine peaches grow in the different neighborhoods in Bordeaux. Lyon… Everyone seems to get involved, for multiple benefits. “Even if we cannot move towards total resilience, the fruit tree allows us to work on local consumption, while being a vector of social bond, summarizes Camille Savage. There is a strong demand from residents, associations, leisure centers, etc., who obviously need to be supported for this to work.

Because planting a baby pear tree at the foot of a building is not enough to feed and federate an entire neighborhood overnight. Firstly, because you have to wait several years to carry out a harvest, because it brings back (yes) insects, but also because the fruit tree requires very good know-how and maintenance. specific skills to develop. “There is a lot of work to train our agents, whose image will change in the future. “as they become providers of fruit and holders of new knowledge,” estimates Gil Melin, deputy mayor of Ris Orangis (Essonne), where several orchards have been installed near schools and nursing homes. “There are also brakes related to; cleanliness, continues Jacques Savoine. With the falling fruits staining the cars… ” Not to mention the risk of falls or accidents which surely explains why communities always prefer maple trees to apple trees when it comes to lining the main boulevards…

Fruits sometimes picked too early

However, there where the obstacles were lifted, the self-service fruit trees seem to have found their way. their place, and their audience. « In Dijon for example, whereù they were installed in dedicated spaces, two typologies of population frequent them, indicates Marie Fiers, coordinator of the French association of professional urban agriculture (Afaup). CSP+ who come with their children to for educational purposes, CSP – for whom the vocation is more nurturing. » At square Daviais at Nantes, one of the “gourmet resorts” located at a few steps from the very busy Place du Commerce, some people make their way while others take advantage of it. Françoise catches a raspberry and immediately puts it in the pan. the mouth. “I’live in side, so when I pass, I can't resist. “take one or two”, smiles the retiree. -des-arbres-fruitiers-en-libre-service-8c67e48.jpg” alt=”In the city, the comeback of self-service fruit trees” />

Raspberry bushes in the city center of Nantes – J. Urbach/20 Minutes

The Nature and Garden service of the city, which has already planted thousands of fruit trees, assures that few fruits are found rotten on the ground, and that they are sometimes picked a little too early. During international meetings dedicated to edible fruit landscapes, the idea of ​​better signage, particularly to indicate harvest periods, was raised. approached in order to encourage the uninitiated who are still hesitant to get close to it.