2018
Sustainable property and private sustainable mortgages

What challenge was the source of inspiration for your project?

The earth and humanity seriously threatened

The indefinite growth myth

The industrial and production-oriented model on which the modern world is based claims to apply the ideology of "ever more" and the quest for unlimited profit on a limited planet. Access to resources is done by pillaging, competitiveness and economic war between individuals. Dependant on energy and oil combustion whose reserves are depleting, this model is not sustainable.

The disaster of chemical agriculture

The industrialisation of agriculture, with the massive use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and hybrid seeds and excessive mechanisation, has seriously affected Mother Earth and the farming culture. Unable to produce without destroying, humanity is exposed to unprecedented famines.

Disconnection between human beings and nature

Mostly urban, modernity has built a ‘soil-less’ civilisation, disconnected from reality and natural rhythms, which only aggravate the human condition and the damage inflicted on the Earth.

In which innovative way are you tackling this problem?

We chose to create a school, the Children’s Farm, a training centre and an agro-ecological centre, which are all at the heart of an Ecovillage comprising about 20 housing units and 50 or so people.

The founders of the Children’s Farm, the Hameau des Buis, as well as all the project leaders on-site try to embody concrete answers through the example of their accomplishments: bioclimatic architecture, decrease in overall ecological footprint, redeployment of the economy.

These are as much creations of certified organic artisanal activities that the existing infrastructure allows: bakery, livestock farming, cheesemonger, market gardening, delicatessen, etc.

With its training centre, the project leaders and all of the professional actors on site can also pass on their experience of more than 20 years of development, to support trainees with rich and diverse experiences, which supports everything in a specific Transition area.

What impact does Triodos Bank have on your business?

Our project has been able to mobilise savings and citizens solidarity for 10 years, which enabled us to provide proof of our credibility by completing work and our sound financial health over time.

Triodos Bank has helped to stabilise the project over time. By engaging in a partnership over the next 20 years, these are the very foundations of the financial system which the project is based on that are consolidated.

What impact has your business had on your business sector?

The Hameau des Buis and the Children’s Farm are part of the local area of the Community of the Municipalities of the Pays de Jalès, in the south of the Ardèche, a few kilometres from Chauvet Cave. On this side of the river (the Chassezac), the first shop is more than 10 kilometres away. That is why a number of neighbouring residents from the sector procure bread, seasonal vegetables, artisan soap, cheese, etc. by direct sale on site.

The school also welcomes several tens of families and children, it’s quite an everyday, market and non-market economy, which is woven from trading and sharing (carpooling, services to individuals, etc.).

Finally, we must also mention the trainees of the training centre (more than a hundred per year), as well as the Civic Services, European Voluntary Services, or even the Woofers (service for farms) to complement the richness and diversity of the business sectors the overall project contributes to.

What impact has your business had on the community?

The project was first tested by the local community, as it should be. It is quite understandable that all this activity deployed raises a few eyebrows in a community reluctant to change certain habits. That is why our innovation has gradually become part of the local landscape.

It is great to now see the recognition enjoyed by the school and the eco-hamlet: Thus, local revitalisation caused by the effects of the overall project are valuable indicators to understand the interest in such human achievements.

As regards the community in a broader sense, some works, written or audiovisual, are available to consult and find out more about the ideas and experiments carried out in the field.

As all of the achievements are documented through free legal resources that we make available on our web platform, the project comes under general interest.

How does Triodos Bank share the vision that underpins your project?

We very quickly understood that creating the conditions for a sustainable future for humanity and the planet was a concern that we shared with Triodos Bank. The financial coherence of our activities must serve the general interest and not small specific interests, that is why we are pleased to see that this vision of an economy in the service of the living is still developing more through this partnership.