As the agricultural industry is in the midst of crisis, each year an increasing number of French people decide to change their lifestyles and become farmers. To give meaning to their work, they leave their urban comforts behind to learn how to live off the land. Attracted by agricultural methods which respect life, these new farmers are joining the ranks of established farmers who are also questioning their work. In a shift away from the productivity-focused industrial practices they have learned, major cereal farmers, wine-growers and dairy farmers are changing tack to reconnect with nature and bring a passion back to their profession. Other farmers choose to set up collectives to pool their workforce and equipment while others decide to become shepherds in city centres. Each person is reinventing the concept of farming and exploring… the ground for hope.
I drove off in my van up and down the French countryside to find out what was happening in this resurgent agricultural sector. From farm to farm, I used my journalistic rigour and the questions of a mother and citizen to consider the future of our food and of those who produce it.
Why we selected this film
A beautiful documentary on the farming profession, as it should have continued with science and knowledge behind it. Far from wanting to produce more and more, these men and women are prime examples of this new model of farmers who do not see the land as a mere medium for crops to grow but as a living ecosystem to be protected and maintained. They all show us that it is possible to reconnect with nature and practice agriculture that respects the land and the consumer, while producing enough to live on. The film invites us to meet amazing people and makes us want to embark on the adventure too!
Deauville Green Awards 2018
Give your time
• Volunteer with solidarity associations, fair trade activities, or other charitable arenas
• Spread the word on info, news and petitions related to local and international solidarity and how everyone can make a different in their everyday lives
• Work with your school: take charge and build awareness in your school community. You could help your institution become a model for sustainability.
• Take action at work: encourage your employer to choose ecological products from fair trade sources to sell/use/manufacture.
• Make a Facebook group calling on your favorite brand to transition to 100% fair trade
• Write to your preferred brands by posting on their Facebook wall
• Ask your local grocers and storekeepers to offer more fair trade products
Ban all chemical fertilizers
Many chemical fertilizers contain heavy metals, such as lead, mercury or cadmium. When transmitted through the soil to vegetables, they contaminate the entire food chain. Avoid them at all costs!
Pesticides and insecticides contaminate soil and groundwater via rain runoff.
Their production also consumes large amounts of energy. As these products are dangerous even for the farmers that use them (who risk accidental inhalation or ingestion), their packaging becomes dangerous waste that requires costly and complicated disposal.
There are many natural alternatives.
Have the Amap (Associations to maintain family farming) reflex
These associations maintain a direct link between farmers and consumers.
By subscribing to Amap, the buyer chooses the frequency and quantity of fruits and vegetables they need/wish, then comes to pick them up on a regular basis at one of the network’s POPs.
To find an Amap close to you: www.reseau-amap.org
Choose eco-friendly foods
(for example products carrying the “organic” label). The more organic farming gains in popularity and volume, the less greenhouse gases we’ll emit. For instance, pesticides, nitrogen based fertilizers and GMOs can’t be used.
To learn more: greenpeace.fr/agriculture-ecologique/
Diminishing traditional resources
Traditional energy sources (oil, gas, uranium, carbon) are running out.
These sources aren't renewable, and their reserves are diminishing faster and faster: global consumption has increased by 75% in the past 30 years and doesn't show signs of slowing.
If we don't change our habits, we will surpass our planet's capacity for supplying traditional energy sources in the near future.
Consuming locally produced food reduces the number of intermediaries, shortens highly polluting transportation and contributes greatly to reinforce the economic vitality of our regions.
To learn more: bioetlocalcestlideal.org
Eat seasonal products
When buying seasonal fruits and vegetables that were not greenhouse-raised, you help in diminishing the energy used in growing them, therefore you’re helping to lessen the impact of farming on the climate.
Download the Greenpeace seasonal fruit, vegetable and cereal calendar: