On the agenda
Bringing flowers to the idle land around a plant.
For bees, employees and visitors
Everyone likes flowers, bur for bees, they are essential. Enough said: at the Labenne site, that's all the argument it took to embark on planting flowers in the site's fallow land.
How did they get the idea? By looking around them... The factory is located near a magnificent nature reserve that inspired them to extend that beauty right up to the doors of the building.
Rule one: no watering
The goal was to let Mother Nature do her thing. While the soil was well prepared (enriched with home-made compost!) and seeds were sown ‒ all under the guidance of a local farmer ‒ the aim was to let nature run its course and, most importantly, avoid consuming additional natural resources when rainwater would be largely sufficient.
In just a few months, the work bore fruit with a more beautiful landscape and further enhancement and protection of the natural biodiversity: the 12 employees involved in the project were not the only ones pleased with the results.
A virtuous circle of best practices
The flowers gave good reason to set up composting on the site, but that was not the end of it. The positive feedback led to an idea for a second project: set up beehives to give shelter to the bees who come to find food amongst the flowers. The next step is to provide feeders for the birds (including a flock of pheasants) to prevent
the flower seeds from being eaten to ensure that the flowers grow well for the bees to gather pollen.
Leaving soil to rest does not mean abandoning it ‒ far from it. Letting land lie fallow aims to allow wild flowers and plants to take over the soil without interfering. Farmers have always favored this practice, which gives the soil time to rest and replenish its reserves between crops. Today we plant idle land to improve biodiversity, sometimes with no underlying farming goal. There are nearly too many benefits to count, including food for pollinators, reproduction area, shelter, improved soil structure and erosion prevention.