An initiative by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, together with the Saline Royale d’Arc-et-Senans, the Besançon board of education and the Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France, the Manuterra programme consists of immersive sessions for primary and secondary school pupils in a new garden that is waiting to be planted. During school hours, pupils are invited to create and cultivate a garden using a range of permaculture techniques.
Multiple environmental topics are explored through a hands-on approach over the course of the sessions: the skills of gardeners and other nature professionals, water management, the life cycles and identification of plants, the life of the soil, and natural fertilisers, to name but a few. These in situ sessions call for the active participation of pupils, who are invited to get their hands dirty, work the soil, use tools and learn key gestures. By encouraging them to appropriate a living space, the Manuterra programme aims to raise awareness amongst tomorrow’s citizens about the importance of preserving biodiversity. At the end of the year, the pupils will be responsible for passing on their cultivated terrain to a new class, who will care for it the following year.
Manuterra combines sensitivity and responsibility: by sharing the beauty of nature and promoting knowledge of the living world, this programme invites society’s youngest members to be attentive to our unique ecological heritage and the importance of protecting it. It is also a precious educational tool that enables teachers to diversify their pedagogical methods by offering pupils a highly original collective experience outdoors.
Bringing together the world of education and environmental issues, Manuterra perfectly embodies the engagement of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès in these two fields.