The farming adventure
It is quite rare today for châteaux to still possess farmland – especially 50 km from Paris! Spanning nearly 500 hectares, at the western extremity of Fontainebleau forest, between the château and the villages of Courances (91) and Fleury-en-Bière (77), from west to east, spreads out a continuous ensemble of fields, cut only by the Autoroute du Sud motorway (just north of the Fleury tollbooth).
Ten owner cousins have chosen to attempt a new farming method, changing from conventional agriculture to organic farming: progressively, by no longer ploughing, by not leaving land bare, by setting up under-cropping as used in conservation agriculture to reconstitute the vitality of the soils. During winter 2014-15, the largest agroforestry project (70 hectares) in the Ile-de-France region will be implemented with this same aim of bringing back life to the soils. 50 hectares of vegetables, cultivated outdoors in organic fields and irrigated, are also planned (in 2015) – market gardening on a different scale to the château’s 2.8 hectare new organic vegetable garden! We also wish to introduce stock breeding as soon as possible, since it functions in tandem with organic agriculture. Did you know that today, nobody produces organic milk in the Ile de France region? The overall idea was to no longer speculate on the price of wheat in Chicago but to feed Paris “from field to mouth” with products of quality, in the image of Les Jardins de Courances…
Picture : Jean-Louis, André, Michel et Paul de Ganay.