Railway station Gar’den lays platform for permaculture
Right next to the station building in Aix-en-Provence is a surprising sight – a little garden with calendulas, giant sunflowers and amaranthus and, later, tomatoes, courgettes and raspberries.
The community garden is on the main platform, just metres from the tracks, and is named the Gar’den, after gare and garden.
Two students from Sciences Po in Aix came up with the idea for an SNCF competition to improve the station.
Now local association Pays d’Aix en Transition and a group of 10 specialist permaculture gardeners look after it.
Its 100m² site is divided into sections by a wooden octagonal mandela and the garden is flourishing (although our photo was taken early in the year).
Gar’den secretary Olivier Domenach has his own large garden but puts aside time to help: “It is there for everyone who cares to use it.
“Plenty of people nearby have no land of their own so they like to come and do a bit of gardening. Passengers also like to come and ask questions.
“I try to label everything so they can see what is there and I hold workshops on the joy of gardening.”
Gar’den is part of Les Incroyables Comestibles movement, which started in Todmorden, West Yorkshire as Incredible Edible, and aims to improve local life by creating community plots.