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France | Meet The Farmer-Bakers Proving Their Skills – part 2

Fabienne and Sébastien opened the farm gates a long time ago. In fact, they make a point of visiting other farms, in order to respect different approaches. Finding solutions in cooperative approaches, they helped set up an abattoir co-op with other poultry farmers as a direct, bottom-up response to increasingly complex issues of animal welfare and biosecurity. Part two of a conversation with Valérie Geslin. […]

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Rural Realities | Succession – Passing It (All) On To The Next Generation

For farmers, succession is more than just passing on the physical farm, land and buildings. Once you build up a successful farming enterprise, how do you ensure all of that knowledge and experience is not lost? It’s a question that preoccupies all of the farmers who participated in the “Nos Campagnes en Résilience” project. Part two of a series analysing the hot topics around transition, by the “Nos Campagnes en Résilience” team. […]

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Rural Realities | Feet on the Ground in the Battle for Land

Access to land was the topic of a panel discussion at our rural resilience gathering in north-west France last week. To add to the conversation, we present our findings from research on the ground, over the past two years of the “Nos Campagnes en Résilience” project. In the first of a series on hot topics around transition, we look at land, water and soil – all pivotal issues for socio-ecological transition. Analysis by “Nos Campagnes en Résilience” team. […]

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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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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 Résilience 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 Résilience team. […]

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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 Plessé 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 Aurélie Mézière, Mayor of Plessé. […]

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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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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. Valérie Geslin reports from Salon à la Ferme in the French Alps. […]

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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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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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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 Valérie Geslin. […]

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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 Résilience. He favours a cooperative rather than a competitive approach to food – to the benefit of all involved. In conversation with Valérie Geslin. […]

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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. […]