First transnational meeting

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, 22nd – 24th March, 2018

Quick reminder: As part of an Erasmus+ strategic partnership, Associations from the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Poland, Sweden and France gathered to find solutions for rural areas which have been left by populations. The aim of this project is to share knowledges and good practices which could be used all over Europe in rural areas, through a common digital manual. The first transnational meeting for the READ IT project took place in Saint-Germain-en-Laye from the 22nd to the 24th of March and was hosted by the Maison de l’Europe des Yvelines.

Thursday, the 22nd of March

1. Arrival of all delegations at the Maison de l’Europe and lunch

2. Departure to the Horticulutural and Agricultural school of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

– Visit of the green houses held by Philippe Mathez (Responsible of the exploitation): this school is quite particula, it sells all the products produced on the exploitation. They sell their products with all the history that goes with, those are branded products and people are willing to pay a little more because of this.

– Panel discussion with 3 farmers (former students). The farmers encountered were specialized in growing cereals for two of them and there also was a bee-keeper. They explained that land is very important and that France is lucky to have all this space. A remark done specified the fact that people live good together in Gascogne in rural areas thanks to projects being developed such as multiple music festivals which now are famous all over Europe. There is for example a jazz festival in Marciac called (“Jazz in Marciac”) but also a Latino music festival Tempo Latino which is the biggest European festival of Latin music.

– Short meeting of the steering committee

3. Diner

Friday the 23rd of March

1. Breakfast and Departure to Versailles and Madame Elisabeth’s residency

– Presentation of a project led by the Department of the Yvelines by Pauline Winocour-Lefevre (Vice-president delegated to ruralities). She explained how the department of the Yvelines is « contradictory » as while it is next to Paris there still are lots of small villages struggling with rural problems. For this, the department began a project in 2015 called « Assises de la ruralité ». They listened to more than 2000 inhabitants of rural areas and farmers to try and solve their problems and fulfill their needs. After listening to all those people they fixed three main aims: adapt public policy to the territory, assist collectivities in their daily work and support new initiatives.

– Two mayors presented their work in cooperation with the Department: Françoise Lénart, the mayor of Autouillet, a small village situated 50km away from Paris, explained her village’s isolation. The nearest

train station is 7km away, 50 percent of the inhabitants commute daily to their working place in Paris and come back late in the evening. A situation that doesn’t really facilitate exchanges with neighbors and other inhabitants of their village. They’ve worked with the Department to increase the livability of the village by renovating the primary school. Marc Robert, the mayor of Rambouillet presented his territory and showed that there is the same kind of schizophrenia in his town. Former urban people come to Rambouillet to live but still want the same commodities as in Paris which isn’t reachable for the moment. There also is a clash between this type of population and the ones that already lived there.

– Each delegation presented quickly their work and their different solutions found for some problems encountered in their ruralities.

2. Town hall of Brueil-en-Vexin

– Buffet of products produced by farmers from Brueil-en-Vexin and its surroundings

– Various speeches and presentations from the urban community “Grand Paris Seine et Oise” representatives (the biggest urban community in France with more than 400.000 inhabitants regrouped in 73 cities): the citizens involvement, the daily life of a rural village (Brueil-en-Vexin: 694 inhabitants) etc. The speakers were, in particular, Bruno Caffin, Brueil-en-Vexin’s Mayor and Suzanne Jaunet, Vice-president in charge of urban planning.

– Presentation of the “Parc naturel regional du Vexin français” by Chantal Auriel, in charge of education and participation in local development. Introduction to the new practices in the field of a new practical management of the areas.

3. Departure to the “Ferme de la Muette”, Exploitation in Ecquevilly

– Short visit of the exploitation

– Presentation of the European program LEADER and the different projects implemented in the area. The speakers were the Senator Sophie Primas, and the responsible for the departmental chamber of agriculture Fabienne Devèze. The farm owner Mr. Vandeputte and another farmer presented their work and how they adapted to the problems they are facing. One of them explained how, thanks to the European program LEADER he rebuilt partly his exploitation in order to host students in his building. It permits him to have a new source of income and it also helps the students to have a flat near their place of study (Paris) and at an affordable price. This is a project called « Campus Vert » (Green campus). Finally the President of GPS&O, Mr. Philippe Tautou, concluded the debate.

4. Diner: tasting of local products

Saturday the 24th of March

1. Maison de l’Europe des Yvelines, Saint-Germain-en-Laye

– Breakfast

– Oral report with the whole group, to discuss and comment all the information and examples of good practices learnt during the last 2 days.

– Meeting of the steering committee: debrief of the first transnational meeting. The delegations are reminded to write a report for the first six months of the project. Discussion of several organizational points concerning the meetings in Sweden, Rhodes and Poland. To finalize the Swedish meeting organization, the steering group will have a Skypemeeting in the first half of June. Each participant also discussed the project’s dissemination topic in their own country and decided to ask local partners what would they want to see in the manual, which should be started with a google doc.

– End of the meeting