The bank for a changing world

Les Graines des Moulins, an urban vegetable garden at BNP Paribas Securities Services

  • 14.05.2018

To encourage new ideas and a spirit of initiative among its staff, the BNP Paribas Group has undertaken a veritable policy of entrepreneurship. Discover the project of 7 employees at BNP Paribas Securities Services who shared their desire to see the seasonal cycle come to life in the Grands Moulins de Pantin area, at the end of 2014. Their idea took the shape of an urban vegetable garden that slotted in with an approach of biodiversity and thinking about sustainable development and recycling. The project quickly got support from Management and the Works Council. Les Graines du Moulin won a BNP Paribas Securities Services innovation award.

An educational and recreational vegetable garden, made by and for staff

In January 2015, an area where crops could be grown was identified on the Grands Moulins de Pantin campus. It was an underused 150m² patch of lawn with good sun exposure. The Grands Moulins vegetable garden was built with the help of Topager, an expert in permaculture and urban farming. 33 containers hold seasonal vegetables, herbs and fruit-bearing shrubs, while benches and pergolas give the garden a social and well-being dimension.

A project that speaks a universal language

  1. Social and collaborative. The urban vegetable garden has turned a little-used area of Les Grands Moulins into a recreational spot that combines social and educational aspects. It brings well-being and an aesthetic dimension right to the heart of the Campus. Being in the courtyard, it draws attention and curiosity, encourages encounters, and creates social links by breaking down silos. 

  2. Educational. With thematic workshops run by Topager and weekly activities organised by the vegetable garden section (compost management and a seed library between co-workers), the garden gives staff a chance to do things together and discover simple ways to grow and maintain vegetable crops. The vegetable garden has also allowed them to establish links with local urban initiatives (like building a vegetable garden at the parents’ home in Villejuif).
  3. Sustainable development and biodiversity. Birds' nest boxes have been put up, as well as insect hotels to observe the return of ladybirds, caterpillars, and in particular the lime hawk-moth, an endangered species. And the bees from our hives find ample food there.
  4. Linking with other large companies. The exchange of experience with other large companies that have undertaken similar projects has opened up the prospect of sustainable relationships with a non-commercial angle.

The Grands Moulins vegetable garden is innovative in the way it contributes to a sense of well-being by doing simple things that many of us have forgotten. Today, the initiative has spread, with similar projects springing up and growing on other Group sites.

“ thanks to our garden, we have managed to inject life into our working environment. This vegetable garden is open to everyone and has really contributed to deliver a lot of benefits in our everyday professional life ”

François Capdeville

Corporate Communication Specialist

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