Website for gardeners without a garden

Garden-share scheme that started in Toulouse will be extended to other cities across France

Green-fingered Toulousains are getting behind a garden-share scheme in the city, in which those who have gardens but no time to maintain them offer them to gardeners who want or need more space to grow plants, including fruit and vegetables.

The scheme is the brainchild of 35-year-old Romanian-born Octavia Ivan. She told that she was shocked by the difference in taste between the homegrown fruit and vegetables she ate growing up in a village near Bucharest, and the produce on offer in the supermarkets when she arrived in Toulouse.

Noticing several neglected gardens in the area of the Pink City where she lives, she came up with the idea of what has become known as urban co-gardening.

The website was developed at a three-day 'hackathon' event in September. Since then 100 gardeners have helped transform 37 Toulouse gardens.

Ms Ivan said that no money changes hands. The idea, instead, is to There is no exchange of money between them, the idea is to promote social links, and improve the local environment.

Gardens can be used to grow fruit and vegetables, aromatic plants, or shrubs and flowers. Ms Ivan now plans to extend the scheme to Nice, Lille and Lyon, and is working on a scheme developing gardening projects for social housing landlords and communities.

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