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Sen. Cynthia Villar visits permaculture farm in France

Montigny-sur-Loire, France, 30 June 2017 -- At the sidelines of the Philippine parliamentary visit to France, Senator Cynthia Villar, Chair of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Food; Environment and Natural Resources; and Agrarian Reform, visited the Ferme de la Bourdaisière in Montigny-sur-Loire, France.

The Ferme de la Bourdaisière is a permaculture micro-farm located in the Loire region in France, famous for its chateaux and wine.

Located on a 1.4 hectare plot behind the Chateau de la Bourdaisière, the farm is inspired by permaculture which is centered on the following principles: care for the earth, care for the people, and fair share.

These principles are implemented by the farm through the use of sustainable farming practices. The farm does not use pesticides nor chemical and synthetic fertilizers. Instead it composts all its waste and has a zero waste policy. The farm is low investment. It has low energy consumption and limits the use of machinery.

According to Ms. Marie-Astrid Bigo, a consultant who works at the farm, “This type of farm is a reaction to the highly-industrialized type of agriculture we have in France which has caused a lot of suffering among our farmers. Because of the use of pesticides, our waters are now polluted and the French State has to spend 60 million Euros a year to treat polluted water. This is the same amount that France makes in selling its agricultural produce.”

In response to this environmental and social problem, the farm’s founder, Mr. Maxime de Rostolan, decided to start a pilot farm that is respectful to the environment and to society.

After Senator Villar toured the farm, she said that this type of farm could be adapted to the Philippines. “Our farmers have small plots of land and little capital for investment in machinery, so this type of farming can be replicated in the Philippines,” Senator Villar said. “While this type of farming limits the use of machinery, you can see in the way they arrange the plots, farm the land and treat their waste, that there is a certain technology present.”

This was confirmed by Ms. Bigo who said that they developed a cold storage facility for their produce using a cave-like system made of mud and straw for insulation. They also cover their plots with straw to protect these from weeds and predators.

The principles of permaculture were first established in the 1960s by Mr. David Holmgren and Mr. Bill Mollison, in reaction to the negative effects of industrial agricultural methods. Senator Villar hopes to incorporate these principles in agricultural training in various farm schools in the Philippines.

Ms. Maria-Astrid Bigo (first from right) shows Senator Cynthia Villar (center) and Consul Rapunzel

(first from left) the cold storage facility of the farm made of mud and straw.

Aerial photo of the Ferme de la Bourdaisière courtesy of the farm.

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