Latest from EU Member States

What France Can Teach Us About Rural Resilience

In the past two years, ARC2020 has been listening closely to voices on the ground in the French countryside. What have we learned? What do the participants have to say? And what’s next for the Nos Campagnes en RĂ©silience project? The key themes emerging from the research so far were presented to the project participants at an online gathering in June, when a lively discussion helped to collectively shape the direction for the future. Report by the Nos Campagnes en RĂ©silience team. […]

Latest from the ARC network

Rural Europe Takes Action | Creative Municipalities

“Rural Europe Takes Action – No more business as usual”, the new book by ARC2020 and Forum Synergies, launches on Tuesday 7 June. As we count down to the launch, today we share another extract from the book: the story of a creative municipality that is bringing people into agri-food policymaking. From the story of PlessĂ© and other stories, our book draws action points for policymakers on supporting local and circular economies. Below we summarise those action points, and then dive into a conversation with AurĂ©lie MĂ©ziĂšre, Mayor of PlessĂ©. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Growing Vegetables, Seeding Values – Part 2

Why is it so important to open the farm gates to the community? Vegetable grower Vincent explains how he and his colleagues want their market garden, to be a site of coming together as well as a site of production. Vincent also opens up about the challenges of labour – for him as an unlikely ‘boss’, and for the workers who must be incredibly motivated to overcome the tough working conditions. Part 2 of a conversation with ValĂ©rie Geslin. […]

Latest from Brussels

France, Food Sovereignty and Feed(ing the World)

In a roundup of recent news, Ashley Parsons find that words and personnel can change, but business-as-usual can keep replying on the institutions to bail them out – no strings attached.  Whatever the level of exposure and risk, whatever the talk of transitioning away from dependencies on agri-industrial inputs, money, it seems, will always be found for keeping the show on the road, whatever the crises.   […]

Latest from EU Member States

Graduation then Desertion – French Ag Students Opting for a Different Path

Last week, French students at Agro Paris Tech  – France’s most prestigious agro-engineering school – staged a “call to desert” during their graduation speech. To desert? Yes, to desert the environmentally destructive engineering positions the university sets them up for after graduation. But these inspiring words and actions of these young people don’t match up to the government’s actions, nor the school’s response. A recap and analysis by Ashley Parsons. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France| Keeping The Wolf From The Door

French farmers aren’t against wolves. Large predators have their role to play in the ecosystem. But with wolf poulations on the rise in many regions, livestock farmers are demanding more supports from the state to keep the wolf from the door. ValĂ©rie Geslin reports from Salon Ă  la Ferme in the French Alps. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Why Did Le Pen Reap Record Numbers of Rural Votes?

Europe let out a sigh of relief on Sunday night with the announcement of Emmanuel Macron’s victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen for the French Presidency. But since her previous bid in 2017, Le Pen’s popularity has increased steadily, especially in rural France. Does her growing appeal point to a rejection of Macron’s techno-solutionism and the failures of his first term? What does it tell us about rural attitudes to Europe? Analysis by Ashley Parsons. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Growing Vegetables, Seeding Values – Part 1

Vincent, Julie and their three employees run a small market garden in North-West France. Producing 45 vegetables, the team at La Ferme de PitouĂ© has learnt over the years the limits of diversification. In their garden, over coffee in the sunshine and a chorus of birdsong, Vincent tells us how they manage to stay true to their values on the farm. Part 1 of a conversation with ValĂ©rie Geslin. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Farming by Numbers part 2

Work less, age better. Instead of more money, choosing to bring in more farmers. For StĂ©phane and his associates on their six-hectare horticulture farm, GAEC Le Jardin des Pierres Bleues, every choice is calculated to yield the best outcomes for people and planet. Part 2 of a conversation with ValĂ©rie Geslin. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Farming by Numbers part 1

StĂ©phane loves numbers, and it’s a formula for the success of the six-hectare horticulture farm, GAEC Le Jardin des Pierres Bleues, that he runs together with three associates and one employee in Vay, north-west France. By his calculation, everyone gets to earn a dignified living, true to their principles and to nature. Free of debt, and free of CAP subsidies… In conversation with ValĂ©rie Geslin. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Cooking Up Fairer Food & Farming Part 2

The Sustainable Food Consortium is a collective of local people working to make the food transition a reality in the territory of Redon, Brittany. It began as an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of a popular farming festival. One of its co-founders, slow food cook Xavier Hamon, tells us about the journey so far, and shares his latest fair local food project – an on-farm restaurant. Part 2 of a conversation with ValĂ©rie Geslin. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Cooking Up Fairer Food & Farming Part 1

For Xavier Hamon, the term ‘chef’ is problematic. It fosters an unfair power dynamic between the person who produces the food and the person who cooks the food. Yet farmers and cooks are often up against the same challenges. Xavier is a founding member of the Slow Food Cooks Alliance, a partner of Nos Campagnes en RĂ©silience. He favours a cooperative rather than a competitive approach to food – to the benefit of all involved. In conversation with ValĂ©rie Geslin. […]

Latest from Brussels

Green Deal-ing – Mid February EU News Round

With the French Presidency of the EU, some specific areas have come to the fore for farming, food and rural Europe. Under a broad-if-wooly EU Green Deal framework, carbon farming, pesticides, geographical indications, and reciprocal standards (mirror clauses) for third countries have received added impetus in this six month presidency. Ashley Parsons takes us though some of these, and some other hot topics, in this mid month round up for us. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Change Is In Our Hands – Part 2

Far from the stereotype of the solitary farmer, Marion and Benjamin make a conscious effort to get farming out of its bubble. It’s the only way they’ll shift mentalities, they believe. The two farmers, who are associates in a cooperative mixed farm in Brittany, also open up on the thorny issues of unpaid activism, taking holidays as a farmer, and feeding the community versus feeding the world. Part 2 of an interview with ValĂ©rie Geslin. […]

Latest from EU Member States

France | Change Is In Our Hands – Part 1

Marion and Benjamin are pig and dairy farmers on a community funded farm in Brittany, France. Agricultural engineers by training, they have reverse engineered the process of farming to make sure they get to take time off and make a decent living. In part 1 of a fascinating conversation, ValĂ©rie Geslin, project coordinator for Nos Campagnes en RĂ©silience, unpacks their experiments in rural resilience. […]