Seed 2 – Tarn and Garonne

Seed 2 - GAEC the Acadabra Tree - France

As soon as we got back from Canada, we left for Tarn and Garonne with Kokono for 3 weeks in the country. Our goal: to work at the GAEC (Common Agricultural Group) of the Acadadra Tree, created by Muriel and Fred, the market gardeners of AMAP (we will later explain the definition of this term) of which we are members in Toulouse.

We arrive, by smaller and smaller roads, in Labarthe. The place we discover is beautiful because of its landscapes, quiet and above all hilly, whose stony roads could be reminiscent of those of Afghanistan according to Delawaer. We gradually soak up the atmosphere of the place: Muriel, Fred, their two daughters and friends are bottling the apple juice, pressed the day before. We get to know the small community around a fire animated musically by the tam tam of the Colombian neighbor.

A DAY at the farm

It’s 7:30: wake up, pants, a T-shirt, some stretching and it’s off to a little morning walk of 10 minutes to reach the house perched muriel and Fred, for breakfast. The girls left for school. At 8:30 a.m., all the seasonal workers are there and the distribution of the morning’s tasks is given. The typical day of a squire is very “intense” as the Canadians would say! There is no time to get bored between picking apples, vegetables, sorting, sowing, weeding, preparing orders, delivering and opening/closing geese and hens.

The orchard

The place we worked on, stretches over 8 hectares and includes a young and old apple orchard. When they bought the land 12 years ago, the old orchard was there and they decided to plant more apple trees. To realize, to create an orchard on about 1/1.5 ha it takes almost 2 years for the planting of trees.

The GAEC Tree Acadabra

All their activity is of biological origin, Nature and Progress and promotes ancient varieties.

Did you know ?

Nature and Progress developed the first specifications for organic production in France in 1972.


LThe Nature and Progress approach is very interesting because it is participatory. Each member (producer and consumer) can participate in the annual surveys of a place. These visits allow the producer to have an outside opinion of his activity in connection with the Nature and Progress specifications, to be able to exchange if he has difficulties, to meet people from the local group, etc. It is a real network of mutual aid and goes far beyond a simple label. Indeed, it is the farms, workshops and companies as a whole that are guaranteed in accordance with the specifications, not just the products.

An ecological and cultural pot

Murielle and Fred embarked on a global project. There are beehives on the site, run by a friend, and several feds. They are used to accommodate biodiversity (bees, frogs, insects …) that make it well by pollinating in particular. Their house was built thanks to participatory construction sites. They chose to make a straw and lime insulation and set up a mass stove to heat the interior. It is a wood-frame disactive and bioclimatic house because it is facing south. They also thought about energy autonomy but this is difficult when you have a cold room on the site. That is a reality to be taken into account. Their project also includes a whole social component. The GAEC is a place of meetings, passage and mutual aid. It’s a real cultural pot! We met Delawaer, an Afghan passing by the site; Natalia, a Mexican woman who came to woofing and seeing the family again; Mathieu a comic book artist who comes to learn the trade of market gardener before settling down; Leo, a geography student who came to make some money before returning to university, and Raffaelle, a Perpignanian who came to live in the area and learn the trade.

Being a farmer

These meetings were mostly built on lunch times (well at 2pm or 3pm depending on the day!). These pauses have been the subject of many lively debates and discussions around the ecology and values of peasantry. Two quotes have remained in our heads among many others:

At one point, I had a choice between taking up arms or becoming a farmer. »

“The name “organic” means nothing, I’m a farmer. »

Fred and Muriel have real convictions, they not only produce, there is also a whole political aspect to take into account in their project. We are talking here about the definition of politics in the noble sense of the word (anything that has an impact on society). We are not talking about political campaigns.

Short circuit

The job of a farmer is also the sale of his products. It’s not always easy to negotiate with organic stores, especially if you’re asked for a specific calibration or when a manager says, “It weighs 10g your apple, it’s not normal.” Let’s be honest, if you come across a 10 g apple, the equivalent of 2 pieces of sugar, let us know! Their mission is therefore to raise awareness of the profession of peasant, about what an ancient variety is, about how they work according to the specifications of Nature and Progress. This educational component can also be found during the weekly distribution of baskets of vegetables and fruits, in AMAP. They supply 4 AMAPs in the region.

Did you know that?

An AMAP is an Association for the Maintenance of Peasant Agriculture. It is a close partnership between a group of consumers (the Amapians) and a local farm, leading to a basket of farm products. AMAP is a solidarity contract, based on a financial commitment from Amapians, who pay in advance all their consumption over a defined period. It is therefore a system based on consumer trust and responsibility.

In this way, we have imbued ourselves with the people and all the initiatives of the place represented by the GaEC of the Acadabra Tree. Muriel and Fred have chosen to embark on a coherent and concrete project, to apply in the field the theoretical studies they followed, becoming “peasants” (a person who knows his land, lives from the cultivation of soil and the breeding of animals).

What we liked about this project:

And before leaving ...

To finish this presentation of our experience on the farm, here is a small comic (in french).

Have a good read and see you soon!

Writing and layout: Lucie

Drawing: Tariq

* La production d’opium et de Haschich représente malheureusement une part importante de l’économie de l’Afghanistan. Son isolation géographique et son instabilité politique en font un terrain propice à la narco-économie. La majeure partie de cette production est exportée en Europe.

Pour plus d’informations :économie_en_Afghanistan

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