Compagnonnage en Maraîchage Agroécologique by Fermes d’Avenir

The “Compagnonnage en Maraîchage Agroécologique” project was submitted by Fermes d’Avenir to the 2020 call for projects on the fight against climate change in France.
The setec Foundation decided, following the hearing, to award it the prize with a grant of 20,000 euros.


Fermes d’Avenir is an association created in 2013, and since 2016 has been attached to the SOS Group, a non-profit social enterprise working in several sectors, including the ecological transition. The mission of Fermes d’Avenir is to accelerate the agricultural transition in France. It supports farms in their transition to agro-ecology through several actions: the Observatory, the Training Centre, and the Farm Nursery. The “Compagnonnage en Maraîchage agroécologique” programme is part of the training centre‘s activities.


Fermes d’Avenir Tour. 2017 ©Fermes d’Avenir


The project

Agroecology: an essential element in the agricultural transition

In 2019, the agricultural sector accounted for 19% of greenhouse gas emissions in France. It is the second largest source of total national emissions after the transport sector (31%). In addition to air pollution and energy consumption, soil pollution is an alarming factor that has lasting repercussions on biodiversity and crop quality. There is therefore a major challenge in transforming farming methods and our consumption patterns.

Agroecology is an agricultural practice that consists of producing by integrating an environmental dimension (sustainable use of resources, energy and soil), a societal dimension (reconnecting to the territory, to local products and without pesticides), and an economic dimension (autonomy, resilience, economic viability and working conditions).

Fermes d’Avenir defines agro-ecological farms as “farms that allow the population to be fed with healthy and qualitative food (taste, maturity…), while preserving the planet’s natural capital (water, soil, climate, biodiversity…) and guaranteeing a viable, livable and resilient activity for the farmers.


Compagnonnage en Maraîchage agroécologique

The “Compagnonnage en Maraîchage agroécologique” programme is part of the agroecology training component of the Fermes d’Avenir association. This project consists of training French people and refugees in agroecology.

They are immersed in a training farm for 8 months, in a pair made up of a French companion and an allophone refugee companion in France. In addition to the environmental aspect, the training allows the integration of this vulnerable population into French society. At the end of the training cycle, they will have acquired skills in environmentally friendly market gardening. The vast majority will have found work in the agricultural sector, while the others are following a training course to complete their knowledge. 10% of people in exile have skills in agriculture and the association Fermes d’Avenir helps to develop them into tools for professional and social integration. This project is an example of a symbiosis between social and environmental vocation. It is possible to integrate these different issues in an inclusive approach at all levels.

At the end of the first two months, the companions change pairs and farms, allowing them to discover different environments, projects and working methods. At the same time, a multidisciplinary team offers the companions comprehensive and individualised support (educational, professional, social and linguistic).


Discover the programme:

Video explaining the programme. 2020 ©L’Obs


How far has the project progressed?

This year, the training started on 19 February and ends on 10 October 2021. The programme is divided into several stages:


  • An opening session (February)
  • 1st practical phase in pairs on a Training Farm (March to May)
  • A week of regrouping for a training session at the “Microfarm”.
  • 2nd practical phase (May to July)
  • A week of training with various speakers (August)
  • 3rd practical phase (August to October)
  • A closing session of the programme (October)

The training takes place on Formative Farms throughout France and the grouping sessions are organised in different places depending on the speakers and types of intervention. At the date of publication of this article, the programme is in the 3rd phase of practical on-farm training which ends on 5 October 2021.


Visit to a training farm. July 2021 ©setec Foundation


The role of the setec Foundation and the volunteer engineers


Visit to a training farm in Anjou. July 2021 ©setec Foundation

At the end of the 2020 call for projects on “The fight against climate change in France”, the setec Foundation has committed a total of 20,000 euros to Fermes d’Avenir in order to carry out the Agroecological Market gardening training project. It will provide financial support to the organisation for the session from February to October 2021.

A rigorous follow-up is also organised throughout the year following the awarding of the prizes, during which reports on the progress of the project are exchanged to ensure the smooth running of the missions and the possible needs of the association. In July 2021, the operational team of the Setec Foundation had the opportunity to visit two training farms in the Pays de la Loire region and to meet the trainees and operators.

The Foundation also puts engineers from the group in touch with the winning projects so that they can benefit from their expertise and create strong links with the structures. An engineer from setec tpi (a subsidiary of the setec group) has been working on a voluntary basis with the Fermes d’Avenir association since the summer of 2021.


Visit to a training farm in Anjou. July 2021 ©setec Foundation



To find out more about Fermes d’Avenir, visit their website.

Discover the other winning projects here.