The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) is a Swiss foundation that makes grants to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
CEV (Centre Écodéveloppement de Villarceaux or Villarceaux Eco-development centre) is a non-profit association created under the 1901 French law of associations. It has been supported by the foundation since its creation in 2006. Its purpose is to lead the Villarceaux centre for reflection and information on how agriculture and rural areas contribute to the ecological transition. The association is also actively involved in actions and projects at the Bergerie site (events, showcasing / communication / training, development) and dialogue with territorial actors (territorial dimension). It provides a connection point for debate and controversies concerning rural territories that take place at higher levels (Natural Park, Region, France, Europe). Thus CEV is not just a focus group or cerebral think tank, but also a true territorial actor. The association combines intellectual endeavours with experiments/measurements in the field.
CEV thus promotes management and sustainable use of rural territories, and develops relationships with networks of actors working in this area at the local, regional, national and sometimes European levels. The goal is to produce and promote a new way of thinking about the territory, particularly with public authorities. The association also coordinates events at the Bergerie site in partnership with local actors (EARL du Chemin Neuf, Association Écosite, Coop Saveurs du Vexin, market gardners, etc.). To do so, CEV has formed pedagogical partnerships, organises theme-based seminars and acts as a bridge to the world of research. The association develops tools for communication and pedagogical supports, places them at partners’ disposal and assists in the creation of new workshops (wood, market gardening, bread-making, etc.) at the Bergerie.
CEV is part of the ITAB (French research institute for organic farming) network of experimentation sites. It is also a member of Afac-agroforesteries (Association Française Arbres Champêtres et Agroforesteries or French association for wild trees and agroforestry), AFA (Association Française d’Agronomie or French Association for Agronomy) and the Ateliers de Maîtrise d’Œuvre Urbaine (Urban planning workshops) in Cergy, France. CEV was very actively involved in the creation of ‘Paysages de l’après pétrole’ (Post-petroleum landscapes) and maintains strong links with this group.
Since 2014, the association has been presided over by Frédéric Zahm, agro-economy engineer-scientist at IRSTEA (National research institute of science and technology for environment and agriculture) and also president of the scientific council of IDEA (Indicateurs de durabilité en agriculture or Agriculture sustainability indicators).
CEV’s goals are to:
lead a centre for reflection and information on the role of agriculture and, more widely, the rule territory, in bringing about an ecological, energetic and social transition,
work with and for actors at the Bergerie site in Villarceaux,
bring this reflection into various national networks and develop it.