When we speak of waste, we often associate the adjective “food” with the noun. The sad reality is that our wasteful consumption extends into many other areas, such as the world of plants. We all already know that a lot of food is foolishly lost at any point in the chain, from the producer to the final consumer. Perhaps it is less well known that too much plant is thrown away that deserves, so to speak, a second life. As the saying goes, while there is life there is hope.
I live near a remarkable garden. The adjective is not gratuitous. In France there is an official seal Remarkable garden, granted by the Ministry of Culture since 2004 and valid for five years. With it, the aim is to give visibility to the green spaces open to the public that are especially interesting, either for their history, for a very elaborate aesthetic or strictly for their botanical value. Today the yearbook consists of 449 gardens cataloged according to these criteria and scattered throughout the French territory.
As I said in the previous paragraph, one of these fantastic spaces, the garden of Prébendes, it stays close to home. With certain periodicity I see the gardeners of the municipality plant new species of plants and flowers, which increases the beauty and splendor of the park. But for this they sometimes dismantle entire beds of vegetation that, in the best of cases, feed the compost container. Last year a friend and neighbor broke her soul when she saw so much green vegetables and so many flowers still in all their splendor discarded. He pleaded with his heart in his hand for those small plants destined without more to the landfill and the gardeners, surprised by the gesture, gave them to him without further ado. My friend got a few plants and flowers for free that way, they brightened up her terrace for a few months.
Waste and recycling are concepts that should not only be applied to furniture but also to plants
The planting and planting scene in the park is unfortunately no exception. To fight against this waste of plants that is well rooted in our culture, a young Frenchman, Nicolas Talliu, has created the Vegetable Protection Society (SPV) in the image of the classic Society for the Protection of Animals. Talliu is a plant lover who has a diploma awarded by HEPIA, an acronym that translates to the High School of Landscape, Engineering and Architecture of Geneva (Switzerland).
As read on the website of the SPV, waste and recycling are concepts that should not only be applied to dilapidated furniture, books already read and “ugly fruit” but to all living things, and consequently, to plants as well. There are four missions that the SPV: work for the recognition of plants as living beings; act against waste and plant abuse, as well as promote locally produced vegetation and, lastly, contribute to the mass planting of the city: Lyon, in this case.
The salvaged plants are put up for sale by the SPV, which also reduces the buyer’s carbon footprint. If we are willing to buy local fruit to prevent the kiwis from crossing the globe to reach our plate, why not also opt for local vegetable production and, in the Summum of liability, for local and second-hand plants? I read on their website that they work so that “infatuation with some plants does not turn into an ecological disaster”.
And where are the plants rescued from? The SPV recovers unsold product, as well as those discarded by municipal services and landscapers. And it also travels to greenhouses and wholesalers in the suburbs to recover vegetables that are discarded with some regularity since each season you have to make room for news. The illogical logic of the market.
On the other hand, the SPV also welcomes in its premises any plant that a private person wants to donate for whatever reason. The plant in question will remain in the care of the SPV until it finds a new “adoptive family”. And it is very clearly specified on its website that any type of plant, without prior selection criteria, is very welcome to the SPV, and all donations are paid.
And if the owner of the plant does not want to get rid of it but is concerned that it is fading at home with no apparent remedy, the SPV proposes a “pension for plants”: the possibility of taking them in for the time necessary for them to recover and be able to return to house in perfect physical condition.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.