This food garden, the largest one from the Earth Society of Monaco, was created by Jessica Sbaraglia a year ago and cultivates 1,400 square meters in the Principality.
With her blond hair, a model’s physique (her former craft) and a sweet personality, skeptics thought her project wouldn’t last 6 months when Jessica Sbaraglia chose to mount “Earth of Monaco” (Terre de Monaco), an Urban agriculture company. “Few people believed in the project in the beginning,” she confessed. But the results are there. A year later, it has nearly 1,400 m2 of cultivated farming in the Principality. Jessica Sbaraglia became the first, and the only, market gardener on Monegasque soil. Successful gamble in a place where concrete is king. She even grows tomatoes, courgettes and aromatic herbs at the foot of the Odeon tower. The owners of the building offered her 450 square meters in the Odeon’s garden at the foot of the tower. 30 fruit trees, a few hives and a hut to shelter eight hens were added to the garden. “I was given carte blanche for this project and I bet on diversity,” she explained. Courgettes, peppers, eggplants, chard and tomatoes fill the Mediterranean gardens. “A logical plantation, with plants that protect each other. For example, by planting basil at the foot of tomato plants, the smell serves as a natural insect repellent for the tomatoes.”
An independent garden
The hens feed on green waste from the garden, the bees take care of pollination. A cycle in this little farm in the shade of the luxurious Odeon, which shelters the garden from too much direct sunlight.
The rows are also home to exotic vegetables: kale, cabbage, tetragonia (New Zealand spinach). And peanuts from Martinique. A crop that Marcel Ravin suggested, who has also entrusted Jessica to 400 square meters at Monte Carlo Bay to help her stock her kitchen.
To run five gardens (at the CHPG, on the roof of the Escorial, in the garden of the Prince Albert II Foundation, Monte Carlo Bay and the Odeon Tower), Jessica is supported by a market gardener and two trainees. She spends her days with her hands in the earth. A new life for this Swiss woman, a business school graduate, living in the Principality for eight years, who has matured her project for many months. “I had to train for two years, do internships to learn the techniques. The only link I had with this world was the vegetable garden in my parents’ house, which I cultivated as a child. But three years ago, I felt the need to get closer to the earth, so I got better and I put my soul into the land of Monaco,” confides the young woman, with a naturalness that goes hand in hand with her production. 100% organic fruits and vegetables, without pesticides or preservatives. Products offered for sale to the inhabitants of the tower. Each Wednesday and Saturday, the team of Terre de Monaco take the surplus produce to a stall at the Condamine market, “But it is necessary to get there early because everything gets sold very quickly,” smiles the market gardener. Who already has other ideas about what to plant and grow in her garden.