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Creation of neighbourhood cohesion around orchards

Partner Action Number & Description

WP2  - Development of not for profit structures and WP3 – social outcomes

Action 5 – Social outcomes through organic food production

Action 5 focuses on developing products (fruits and vegetables) from green space, while delivering social outcomes (training of persons far from the employment, revitalisation of deprived area, access to vegetables in deprived area, etc)



The Régie d’Habitat Rural en Val de Sambre is an association which has for missions (1) the social integration of persons that are far from employment and (2) the revitalisation of the neighbourhood. It is based in a farm called Forestaille which also hosts a social housing project.

During 3 years the “Régie” has gradually developed its actions within the  town of Lobbes. Several events have led them to consider the orchards as a tool for social cohesion:

  • The acquisition of a funding from the Walloon Region (Biodibab funding) for the plantation of a conservatory orchard on the site of the farm. ;
  • The suggestion of a neighbour to work at the maintenance of fruit orchards in the region;
  • The punctual but renewed interest of some neighbours for the “Regie” project.


Description / Nature of Pilot

Within this pilot action, the Régie in collaboration with inhabitants of the neighbourghood will implement activities around orchards putting partnership with the inhabitants in a long term footing. The actual content of the action will strongly depend on the interest of the inhabitants and their involvement. The first part of the action will be directed towards the establishment of contacts with interested neighbours and investigation of common interests.

The possibilities which can then be explored are as follows:

  • Plantation and first intervention on the conservatory orchard
  • Organization of conferences and trainings
  • Fruit transformation to make juice
  • Inventory of fruit orchards in the Region
  • Collective maintenance of "forgotten" orchards
  • etc.


Pilot objective

Create a partnership with inhabitants to develop neighbourhood cohesion around orchards  and set up common activities as processing fruit juice, organisation of training and knowledge sharing, collective maintenance of forgotten orchards….while keeping in mind the socioprofessional integration mission of the Regie.


Pilot Framework / Timescale

Sept 2013-Dec 2014


Funding / Budget

108 000€ : from the Interreg project for specific materials and expertises required for this pilot actions

All the running costs of the Régie (staff, consummables, etc)  as well as the staff for the implementation of this pilot action are covered by the Régie.


Pilot Stakeholders

  • La Régie d’Habitat Rural en Val de Sambre
  • Town of Lobbes
  • Le Fond du logement
  • La cidrerie du Condroz sc
  • Lobbes inhabitants and neighbours


Recommended Design Delivery

Create contacts with interested inhabitants

Organisation of the “Tree Day” in The Forestaille farm, including an exhibition on orchards,  a contact table for the inhabitants and discussion on their interests.

Meet people and maintain contacts during the “neighbour day” .


Organization of an orchard maintenance related training

Training open to trainees of the Régie and inhabitants


Organisation of an "apples transformation” event

Invitation for 4 days of a mobile press for transforming apples brought by people who go back with their juice


Pilot Outputs / Outcomes

  • Enrich the educational offer, providing a wider range of knowledge in orchard maintenance.
  • create a sense of cohesion  between its people and its actors within a territory through  collective works  on orchards.
  • Satisfaction and enhancement of neighbours but also trainees who stand out for better relations in the city of Lobbes.
  • Better visibility and gain of credibility for the « Régie »