Exploration of the worker virtues garden
with Léonard Nguyen Van Thé (gardener)
Saturday 27 October 2018, at 6 pm
Created in 1935, La Société des Jardins Ouvriers des Vertus (the Society of Workers Gardens « des Vertus »), has since been cultivating 2.5 hectares of vegetable plots on the slopes of the Fort d’Aubervilliers ; green Eden in the crowded town centre, it is carefully looked after by 85 gardeners, members of the Association. Popular places for growing, these gardens are testimony in their own right of the working-class history of the Seine-Saint-Denis and constitute one of the steps of his research subject that Uriel Orlow has deployed in Aubervilliers in order to retrace the plant stream which he compares to dynamic agents of equal geographic and historic interest.
Léonard Nguyen Van Thé, a gardener, was educated at the Horticultural School of Breuil and Montreuil. Basing his research on systems of sustainable parks through subversive gardening, he has turned himself into an urban guerrilla-gardener, working on neglected and complex territories like the the Dalle Maurice Thorez at Bagnolet or the Ferme du Bonheur at Nanterre etc. His knowledge of plants and garden techniques have become militant tools for urban agro-ecological issues. In order to adapt to the material and judicial constraints of different places, he re-employs traditional techniques : the knowledge of a wall-builder (for recycling rubble), hedgelayer, botanist or master-composter in order to recreate the ground in polluted areas or in ones that have become non-productive. Co-founder of the Ecole Spéciale des Espaces Libres, the « petite ceinture » is the place where he pursues his gardening and social experiments to the limit, never hesitating to try ever more repugnant but efficient techniques in order to make gardens last, testing the most unexpected associations and concurrences. .
Free entrance, Booking requested
Soil Affinities (former french colonial garden, Vincennes), 2018
© Uriel Orlow