Encouraging interactions between the urban and rural world
Ferme de la Muette (territory of the Yvelines, France)
Origin of the project / activity: Philippe Vandeputte is a 47 year-old farmer based in the region of Île-de-France who inherited the Ferme de la Muette, where his grandparents had lived since 1919.
As a farmer for about twenty years, he increasingly struggled to pursue his activity, which was due in part to the working hours, the climate and his physical condition, but also due to the lack of social links. Philippe Vandeputte had gone from being able to live from his activity to just surviving.
He decided to gradually move away from farming in the traditional sense towards activities that would permit him to remain in the family home, whilst keeping a connection to rural life.
He researched possible schemes and opportunities that would help finance projects on his land, which led to him finding out about the LEADER program and the “Campus Vert” association, based in the region of “Hauts de France”.
What is the project about ? :
-to allow farmers to generate income by offering accommodation to students and persons having just started out in the world of work.
– to permit people that are unable to shoulder a high rent to find affordable accommodation in farms.
Philippe compiled a file and secured funding through the LEADER program, which covered 80% of his costs (80% being the maximum provided). This enabled him to renovate one of the farm buildings and to create six furnished accommodations.
Specific target group? : Students and persons starting their first job. Couples and families are prohibited by the terms and conditions of Campus Vert.
Is there anything that needs to be considered if the project / activity is to be copied to another rural area ? : The income generated by the rent allows Philippe to repay the bank loan he had contracted to co-finance the accommodation project and to finance his other activities. It is also important to note that LEADER funding has enabled Philippe to equip the near totality of his buildings with solar panels. However, one disadvantage shared by all rural
suburban areas is that despite the proximity of urban centres and transport infrastructure, possessing a vehicle is necessary, as the density of the public transport network and the frequency of passages is insufficient.