European countries affected by the economic crisis and weakened by changes in the labor market since the 90’s, are now facing new needs, growing qualitatively and quantitatively, against which social protection systems are inadequate. In this scenario, other actors attempt to integrate and compensate for public welfare that retracts: associations, foundations, social enterprises. This contribution presents, through secondary data and interviews, the French experience of Jardins de Cocagne, agricultural enterprises with social aims; the project is born in the 90’s to offer employment and social inclusion for people with nonlinear biographies; in the last five years these "gardens" have become the place in which "included" persons find relegitimation, despite the crisis. The experience of Jardins is an exemplary case of actors ‘ cooperative capacity within local communities; it is also an example of how to create social value and cohesion through work.
Keywords: Foundation and local development, associations and local development, network governance, crisis of welfare systems, labor market, recession