Mainly in the plain: an agricultural adventure
A chateau with farmland is a rarity these days, particularly when the chateau is just 50 km from Paris. Covering some 500 hectares – on the western tip of the Fontainebleau Forest, between the chateau and village of Courances (91) to the west and those of Fleury-en-Bière (77) to the east – the fields are separated only by the A6 motorway (just north of the Fleury toll gate).Check out the Courances plain project presentation
Ten cousins, owners between them of the land and the two chateaux, decided in 2012 to challenge the standard business model of farming, which was simply not working. They wanted to establish a new kind of agriculture, organic and respectful of the soil. The first change of direction came in 2014-15 with the planting of 1800 trees in the fields. At 70 hectares, this is the largest agroforestry project north of the Loire. The aim: to restore the structure and fertility of the soil naturally, while increasing the farmland’s resilience to climate change. Find out more about the Courances plain agroforestry project.
A crop manager will be moving into the farm at Chalmont in late summer 2018. The manager will steer the course as we move into a new organic era that makes sense both in agronomic and economic terms.
The transformation of the products of the earth is the next step in the project’s economic development. An alternative to buying organic soil improvers needs to be found. There is probably no other solution than reintroducing livestock. Step by step, the farm must win back its autonomy. A new landscape needs to be invented…
The project of a family? Above all a project aimed at inspiring future generations.
See the website « Nourrir Paris » for more about the adventure.
To find out more: « Nourrir Paris », by Valentine de Ganay
Photo: Jean-Louis, André, Michel and Paul de Ganay in the fields.