Jean-Guy Henckel

Ashoka Fellow
France, Europe
Fellow Since 2008
Réseau des Jardins de Cocagne

IDÉE

Pour lutter contre le chômage, les cercles vicieux d’exclusion qu’il génère ou encore un système d’aide social qui pousse souvent à la dépendance, Jean-Guy Henckel fait de la réinsertion tout en développant la filière de l’agriculture biologique en France. En produisant des légumes biologiques, il transforme la notion d’employabilité et crée un modèle de développement en équipant la France d’un réseau de plus de 110 Jardins Cocagne (maraîchage biologique) employant des personnes en grande difficulté. En jouant la carte des métiers nouveaux et valorisants, il crée des systèmes locaux de distribution et un réseau pour diffuser son modèle de jardin facilement transposable.

 

IMPACT

Lancé en 1999, le réseau Cocagne représente aujourd’hui le 1e producteur de légumes biologiques en France et compte 130 entreprises solidaires dont 110 jardins maraîchers biologiques dans toute la France. Depuis sa création, le réseau Cocagne a réinséré 40 000 personnes, avec 25 000 adhérents-consommateurs par an. 10 projets économiques, sociaux et environnementaux du modèle Cocagne sont en cours de création en France, en Roumanie et au Japon. Réseau Cocagne sert de modèle de développement en réseau pour tout le secteur social.

 

QUI EST-IL ?

Inspiré par les humanistes et utopistes français du XIXe siècle, Jean-Guy est obsédé depuis toujours par l’amélioration des systèmes d’insertion. Il s’est découvert les qualités d’un entrepreneur et sillonne la France pour dynamiser le réseau Cocagne.

 

Citation

This profile was prepared when Jean-Guy Henckel was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Jean-Guy has contributed to a shift in national policy that helps people out of poverty through employment instead of assistance. He was one of the pioneers in the field of social integration, and one of the first entrepreneurs in France to create Social Integration Enterprises in the 1970s—aimed at empowering and integrating marginalized individuals both socially and professionally, and reflecting a sharp departure from traditional social work. Formally recognized in 1998, twenty years after the first pilot site, Jean-Guy’s model has helped to create a legal framework for the development of Social Integration Enterprises. Jean-Guy showed that the most powerful way to promote social integration is to produce high-quality products that provide a renewed sense of pride and self-worth to those producing them. Experimenting with sustainable development models long before they became a fashionable concept, he created his first organic garden in 1991, which trained people in difficult social situations to grow and sell premium products. Jean-Guy explicitly chose to specialize in organic products to strengthen environmental awareness, appreciation, and commitment of both the Garden’s employees and consumers. His was a pioneering model in Community Supported Agriculture, as Cocagne customers are more than mere buyers: They are “consum’actors”—or, engaged consumers who commit to buying a minimum amount per week as a conscious investment in the lives of the people who work there. Due in large part to his efforts, a law was enacted in 1995 to recognize this specific type of social enterprise, Ateliers & Chantiers d’Insertion (ACI) or Insertion Workshops and Work Sites. Driven by the success of his first social businesses, and aware of the potential impact of such a model, Jean-Guy created the Cocagne Network, a replication model designed to trigger large-scale change. His network derives from traditional franchising models, but integrates essential elements to guarantee social impact. Each Garden adheres to similar non-negotiable quality principles, and yet is given flexibility according to the local contexts, depending on its unique geographic situation, traditional culture, the types of workers to be reintegrated, and other related factors. Jean-Guy found the right balance between franchising the Gardens and integrating them into a national movement of similar social ventures.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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