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France | Meet The Farmer-Bakers Proving Their Skills

Sébastien loves bread. Shaped by a farming background, he was drawn to cooking, but experience taught him that the reality in the kitchen was very far from his ideals. Fabienne studied accounting and worked a corporate job in the city. She was happy to team up with her husband Sébastien on the farm in the West of France. Here in their on-farm bakery, between batches of bread, they share their views on life as farmer-bakers. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Watching, Waiting and Knowing When To Help

We’re back on Shane Casey’s farm in The Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland, where he has another busy spring of lambing and calving behind him. There’s only so much you can do to prepare – after that, it’s a question of watching carefully for the telltale signs in the ewes and cows. Shane’s father was an early adopter of livestream technology that makes the night watch a little easier. But successful lambing and calving depends on the farmer’s expertise as well as patience. Knowing if and when to intervene, whether to call the vet, and how to help the newborns find their feet.  […]

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Letter From The Farm | Learning from a Campesino Family in Cuba

In Cuba, food security is still a challenge after years of wars to fight against colonialism, imperialism and climate change. Yet, the island is far beyond the European Green Deal objectives, having largely achieved most of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity targets that the EU aspires to attain by 2030. One Cuban farm is going even further. Welcome to La Finca del Medio, a 13.42-hectare family farm located in central Cuba, which is championing food sovereignty in the agroecological way. Matteo Metta writes from the farm. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Cresting the Peaks of Constant Change

We’re back at the foot of the Italian Alps, where Chiara Garini is growing like the shiitake mushrooms on her forest farm. Given our precarious, hyperconnected and crisis-stricken planet, Chiara is sticking with the realism of making and maintaining –food and employment, forest and qualify of life– over the idealism of saving the world. The farm is growing too, and the long-awaited renovation of an old building is helping the now-expanded team to diversify activities.  […]

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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 Valérie Geslin. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Bridging Worlds Old and New

Meet Claire Jeannerat, who runs a sheep and goat farm with her family in the Swiss Alps. The title of shepherdess is is a true and often humbling apprenticeship with mother nature and all the uncertainties. Claire and her husband endeavour to live this vocation in a manner that respects and upholds ancient traditions that are being lost in modern society, bridging a path between the old and new. […]

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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 Pitoué 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 Valérie Geslin. […]

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Letter From The Farm | A Year In Review

We’re back on Ciasnocha Family Farm, where Mateusz is counting his blessings after a fruitful season of experimenting and investing on the farm. Luckily he found time to travel beyond the farm gate too, to seek and share knowledge, taking part in the UN Food Systems Summit, and COP26, where he championed regenerative agriculture and climate smart farming. Mateusz takes us through a memorable year on and off the farm.  […]

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France | Farming by Numbers part 2

Work less, age better. Instead of more money, choosing to bring in more farmers. For Stéphane 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 Valérie Geslin. […]

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France | Farming by Numbers part 1

Stéphane 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 Valérie Geslin. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Investing In The Future

We’re back on Zsámboki Biokert organic market garden in Hungary, where Matthew and Kata Hayes and the team are taking time to plan for the year ahead. January was a time to reflect on the year gone by, and the conscious effort that the farm is making to invest in the next generation, and to encourage young people to think about our food systems. In these uncertain times for micro-scale farmers, and for farming in general, Covid has driven home the need to build and maintain community and common values, writes Matthew.  […]

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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 Valérie Geslin. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Calving, Lambing – and Timing

We’re back on Shane Casey’s farm in Co. Clare, Ireland, where winter is an active period of herding livestock that are outwintered amidst the limestone pavements of The Burren. There’s decisions to be made about when to bring ewes inside to lamb, and cows home to calve. Considerations of animal welfare, economic viability, and conservation grazing are all factors in determining when the time is right. […]

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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, Valérie Geslin, project coordinator for Nos Campagnes en Résilience, unpacks their experiments in rural resilience. […]