For its third year, the Natural Heritage Awards jury has chosen the Ecolieu du Plan du Pont project in Hyères, in the Var region of France, as the winner. The jury wanted to reward a project that gives new life to former farmland, turning it into a collective space that makes sense for the planet and for people.
L’écolieu du Plan du Pont is an ambitious project covering 10 hectares on the Plan du Pont plain in the Var. Once an important fruit-growing area for local consumption, this land had been abandoned since the mid-1990s. In 2020, the collective decided to rehabilitate it. Today, the land is once again being used for agricultural and community purposes. With this in mind, the écolieu is presented as a fertile and sustainable oasis, imitating natural ecosystems to produce quality food locally, while encouraging a reconnection with nature and strengthening social ties.
The Fondation Etrillard's prize money will go towards the association's new project: the development of a collective orchard adjacent to the garden. Designed to provide a healthy and varied diet for people who do not necessarily have access to it, this orchard will be cultivated using agroforestry and animal husbandry methods. The aim is to maximise biodiversity by avoiding monoculture, in order to limit the risk of pests, while at the same time being more respectful of the soil. Covering an area of 3.3 hectares, the orchard will include 1,000 fruit trees, a sheepfold, an apiary, a chicken coop, an olive grove and a kitchen-laboratory, creating a virtuous and educational ecosystem for the local population.
More information on ecolieu-plandupont.org