Campus Comestible

UNIL and EPFL have always had arable land. In the past, some plots on campus were still used for livestock farming. To encourage local and organic production in the city, our vision is that students could become involved in campus agriculture once again. Harvests could be sold at the market, distributed at « Disco-soups » or used by canteens.

In December 2017, Thomas Verduyn, Mélodie Rey and Gaël Packer took part in the Urban Creathon organized by oikos Lausanne, winning first prize with the « Campus Farm » project, which developed the idea of a student farm on Campus combining research, local production and community experimentation.

In early 2018, members of EPFL’s TREE association teamed up with Légumes Perchés in the quest for the best location for a student garden.

On May 2, 2018, we submitted a project proposal for EPFL’s first student garden, Jardin de Bassenges, to the head of Campus Durable. The very same day, the dossier was accepted and students are already envisioning a garden-gardening space, co-maintained by students and members of the Energy Center, where this new project will see the light of day.

Our vision is very much inspired by that of Jean-Martin Fortier, a farmer and author specializing in organic farming practices, who proposes his model of human-scale, ecological and profitable agriculture. Based on this model, we imagine an organic micro-farm similar to the Jardins de la Grelinette, whose philosophy is to farm better rather than farm more, by optimizing farming systems, making them more lucrative and viable in the long term.

« Let’s replace mass farming with farming by the masses. » Jean-Martin Fortier

The Garden of Bassenges

April 23: First sowings

Thanks to seed donations from our friends, we were able to germinate the first seeds in the UNIL greenhouses, sheltered from the cold!

May 18: First Participatory Worksite

Some fifteen students were present that day, members of the Légumes Perchés, Tree and Polysi associations, and everyone pitched in to make this garden a reality! We decided to divide our 60m2 plot into three to prepare the soil differently and study the impact on yields. In the end, thanks to loans and donations from the neighboring farmer, UNIL and neighboring associations, the garden didn’t cost a single penny.

May 31: Opening evening

Thanks to the talents of the Musical EPFL, we were able to enjoy a delightful aperitif-concert amidst the straw bales to officially inaugurate the new Jardin de Bassenges!

Potager à l'école

18 Juillet : Premières récoltes

Although we opted for heavy mulching of our plots, it took hours of watering and hand weeding to see the first fruits ripen.

Coming up: first report, disco-soup, 2019 plan, training courses

The positive effects of the garden are already being felt, and it will be necessary to understand how this project can become sustainable over the years.

In order to create an interdisciplinary and multicultural community around this corner of paradise, we’ll need to organize new workcamps and educational workshops between farmers, market gardeners, researchers and students, to pool everyone’s knowledge and experience and take sustainable action on our environment.

As the main problem for students is their reduced commitment during vacation or exam periods, we’ll have to think about installing a drip system to ensure better watering throughout the year.