The Aromatic FabLab, created by one of our founding members, Les Fleurs d’Exception of the Pays de Grasse association, will open this September 12th. What inspired this idea? What is its purpose? What part does it play in the Grasse Expertise ecosystem? We learn the answers from Armelle Janody, a woman who is passionate about perfume plants and our region.

If you ask Armelle why the members of Les Fleurs d’Exception du Pays de Grasse decided to make this concept a reality, you can sense her love of the trade and her rootedness in the land in her replies. She first reminds us that “the Aromatic FabLab is one of the safeguarding measures in the UNESCO dossier that led to the skills related to perfumery in the Pays de Grasse being added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2018.”

 What’s more, as a founding member of Grasse Expertise, she confirms the importance having shared values within a common ecosystem. It “supports producers and encourages dynamic dialogue and partnerships along the entire fragrance supply chain.”

Such support is needed to meet the challenges she and her team face: Armelle reminds us that “floral crop coverage has dropped from more than 1,000 hectares of flower fields (in 1950) to 40 hectares today; these crops – a fundamental part of the region’s identity and linked to savoir-faire that has survived many generations – are gradually disappearing, all while international competition is growing.” That’s reason enough to take action! And their determination is equal to the task: “We want to able to supply plants to meet growing, long-term demand, to have a place that fosters creation of and experimentation with new species, a place to train young people and pass this venerable savoir-faire on to them.”

This is why, for the past two years, she has been energetically and determinedly working on many fronts: searching for land, premises, a vehicle, R & D and financing partnerships, greenhouse equipment, organic farming certification, planting materials, as well as setting up the nursery, organizing training and assistance for producers, seasonal workers,  and much more.

And now, everything is ready!

Spanning 9,000 square meters in Mouans-Sartoux, the Aromatic FabLab includes a nursery that will ensure the essential and urgent renewal of plants to supply newly established producers and provide new plants for growing plots. A field zone is planned to grow stock plants and propagate new ones. Two greenhouse spaces will provide shelter to grow cuttings and produce more delicate plants. “We’re proud to announce our first tuberose crop,” she shares with a smile.

This center sets the standard as a resource in the realm of perfume plants, making available botanical raw materials, offering a site for experimentation and sharing savoir-faire, and serving as a promotional tool for the crops of the Pays de Grasse. The objectives are clear: For Armelle, the members, and the partners, it is about “giving well-established producers a supply source to renew their plots, helping newly established growers access seedlings, and working with project sponsors to help them get established more easily.”

Armelle and the FabLab are focused on the future, fostering business diversification, innovation, and anticipating customer needs. Armelle also knows it is important to sustain the professional development of existing and future agricultural units through short supply chains. One thing is clear: The future of the Aromatic FabLab is already very bright.

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