Take your shovel with you on holiday: huge ecological construction sites need you

According to the Utopies agency, the degree of food autonomy of the top 100 French urban areas is 2%: an alarming finding, in a context conducive to food shortages (Covid 19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, climatic hazards, etc.). It is undoubtedly time for Etika Mundo’s eco-place team to take the plunge: in the Cevennes they are organizing Massive Ecological Worksites (CEM). The target? Collaborate for National Food Security through massive projects. No more holidays on the other side of the world, no more airlines cheap : It’s time for EMFs. Discovery with Guilhem Pierron, permanent member of Etika Mundo.

Photo: huge ecological sites

From 19 to 26 June, Etika Mundo will host the second Massive Ecological Site in France (CEM). What is an EMC?

“It is a large-scale participatory project that aims to create or restore agricultural jobs. We carried out our first tests in 2020, after a series of bad weather in the Cevennes: the floods had damaged farmers and we had mobilized about 20 people to help them. We thought about the CEM with the aim of bringing as many people together as possible for a week: during the first edition in 2021 we had about a hundred participants, and our long-term goal is to bring as many as 500 people together.

How do EMFs serve as a tool for National Food Security?

“When creating the Chantiers Écologiques massifs, we started from an observation: France’s food resistance is far too low. 98% of the content of the food consumed is imported and 97% of the local agriculture ends up outside the territory (according to the Utopies bureau, 2017). The aim of the CEMs is to interweave the entire territory of Ecological Farms of Proximity as opposed to the large agricultural productions. Last year we launched Emilie’s farm, a member of the collective whose mission is to ensure the food autonomy of the eco-place. In a week we put up fences, irrigation etc. Without the EMVs this would have taken months of work. This year we are organizing two labor camps to help local farmers. The answer to our food resilience needs is to have farmers everywhere!”

Photo: huge ecological sites

You plan to welcome 100 volunteers this year: what’s behind the scenes at the CEM? What organization is needed to carry out such projects?

“We now have an annual perspective: we are well prepared. In 2020, we won a competition from the Occitanie region with funding of €40,000, which enabled us to equip ourselves. Three weeks before the start of the CEM, we organize the pre-CEM, which is intended to organize all logistics: we have arranged our chestnut forest in such a way that bivouacs can be created, and a catering area with an outdoor kitchen. We have also equipped dry toilets and outdoor showers. These infrastructures are easy to move, in order to export the bivouac to the construction site if necessary. Finally, we organize flow management: where people circulate to move from one point to another, etc.”

I want to participate in a Massive Ecological Workcamp: what do I need to know?

“To register, all you need to do is fill out a Hello Asso form. A participation of 30 € is required for the food costs of the week. For the rest you only have to bring your tent (or rent one on site) and his motivation! A solidarity system has been set up: anyone who wishes can finance the participation in the costs of a person for whom these costs would act as a brake. We want the CEM to be open to everyone, young and old, regardless of their physical condition: there are plenty of ways to be useful. Every day we divide the care (household tasks) among everyone: there is a kitchen team, a dishwashing team, a dry toilet team…”

Photo: huge ecological sites. Warm-up session for a CEM.

Are the Massive Ecological Worksites destined to be developed on a larger scale? What does implementing to achieve this mean?

“Yes, we are not claiming that we are making the food-proofing of all of France possible on our own! This solution should be implemented at national level. Moreover, the CEMs are already gaining momentum: the main organizers of this year’s Chantier Écologique Massif are not part of Etika Mundo’s permanent team, but are participants of last year’s CEM. So that other people can use this tool, we organize 3-day courses “organize a CEM” at the price of 240 €. This is a ready-made package, with people from the resources to support projects, information about administrative procedures, fundraising, etc. In the future we also want to develop partnerships with the sports world: firstly because it is quite politically neutral is, but also because the athletes have the will to participate physically and cultivate team spirit.

This year the CEM will take place from 19 to 26 June and you can still register via this link.

One CEM, two CEMs… we hope this project spreads!

Photo: huge ecological sites
Photo: huge ecological sites

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