Dorothée
Machils

Project: Les Barges de la Permaculture

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Dorothée is the founder of l’Association Permaculture Paris, launched in 2015 to raise awareness of urban agriculture. She studied Permaculture at Bec Hellouin farm – an institute exploring ecologically sound food growing practices in Normandy, France – following a career of almost 20 years in garden center management. Dorothée became coordinator of the farm’s training center in 2016.

Dorothée’s project builds resilience to climate change in cities on the banks of rivers, such as Paris. Micro gardens will produce food in the heart of cities: along docks, repurposing river barges as farms. She proposes a large urban farm, ‘Concrètement’, which will host a grocery store, restaurant, and teaching center to promote restorative practices and biodiversity. This has many tangible benefits: ultra-local food production; waste recycling; creation of urban temperate areas; limiting precipitation runoff; drawing down carbon dioxide. More generally, urban micro farming reconnects citizens with their food and consolidates the urban agricultural sector.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

"I was born in Paris at a time not so long ago where living in the city was like living in a village, only bigger. Since then, the population of the metropolitan area has increased by 30%, with all the needs, constraints and nuisances that come with it. It would be harmful to think that to live well it is necessary to leave the capital. This is what drives me to find solutions and create systems that restore the city to its primary qualities: a place of serene life in a healthy and sustainable environment, where human-nature symbiosis resumes its place for the common good. Solutions and systems that invite us to cultivate living in the city.

The idea began after I designed a personal kitchen garden for a friend’s barge moored on the Seine. The surrounding boats were huge and thus offered many possibilities for cultivation. This led me to consider a new form of urban agriculture that avoided the land competition and technical constraints for urban gardening in the city and could legitimately support the environmental and social ambitions of our sustainable cities."