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Awards ceremony of Arbres d’Avenir, french competition for agroforestry

Arbres d’Avenir, the first national competition for agroforestry organized by Fermes d’Avenir, AccorHotels and PUR Projet, supports farmers’ initatives to plant trees in agroforestry models on their farms. 34 project holders were granted € 200,000 with funds and support for the planting of more than 40,000 trees.

The first contest ended on January 24 with an awards ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, with Minister Stephane Le Foll saying that “Agroecology is the future of French agriculture”.

Nicolas Hulot, surprise guest of the ceremony, stressed in his speech that “agroecology optimizes our chances of winning the climatic battle” and defined agroecology as the place where “human and nature intelligence merge.”

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3 projects were particularly distinguished:
– the Insetting special prize was awarded to Robert Sangely, an organic vegetable grower in Vienne, who transformed his plot into agroforestry and is going to plant 780 trees to create fruit trees or lumber lines between vegetable crops. The trees will thus limit gully erosion of rainwater, heat, wind and, moreover, will fix carbon and bring the bacteria necessary for organic cultivation. He will also create a mobile henhouse of 70 laying hens, which will be set up between the fruit trees paths: ” This will allow me to create my nitrogen for vegetables, diversify the farm and meet the demand of my “consumers-actors”…
– the Junior Farmer special prize awarded Sarah Le Coq for the Beauvoyer farm in the Yvelines, which has already planted 2500 trees of 21 different species (oak, alder, acacia, blackcurrant, hazelnut, walnut …) in december 2016. Sarah is fighting against the concrete in the surrounding area and wishes to anchor her market gardening activity in the local economy by hiring a seasonal worker, producing fragmented ramal wood (BRF) in order to improve soil structure “it will increase biodiversity, organic matter, with better control of runoff waters and temperatures…” as well as proposing new products and services to her customers.
– finally, the Innovation special prize went to the endearing project of Julien and Sébastien, 2 neighbouring farmers in the Nièvre, who decided to bring Tree back to the heart of their cereal crops in order to improve soils quality, to bring back organic matter and therefore fertility, to improve water control by allowing infiltration, storing in soils while limiting erosion, and to increase biodiversity, providing shelter and nutrients, and finally to preserve climate, storing carbon. They also contacted beekeepers to install beehives in the heart of the plots to promote pollination and plan to build nest boxes to house species such as Kestrels, Little Owls and Barn Owls, who naturally protect against pests (voles, mice …). This price has a very special dimension since on November 13, 2016, at the age of 28 , Julien died accidentally, mown by a car. Her brothers and sisters have since changed their lives to pursue Julien’s dream.

The day continued with the winners at the Novotel Paris Vaugirard for 3 highlights:

– panel discussion on tomorrow’s agriculture by experts Marc Dufumier, agronomist and teacher-researcher, Christian Dupraz, researcher in agroforestry at INRA, Philippe Desbrosses, farmer, scientist and writer, pioneer of organic farming in Europe, and Alain Delangle, national secretary at FNAB and president of Bio Coherence,

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– the presentation of Fermes d’Avenir’s advocacy ‘For an innovative agriculture with positive impacts’ by Hélène Le Teno, Business Director of Auxilia, who leads the Scientific and Economic Committee of Fermes d’avenir. An absolutely inspiring study about positive and negative externalities of agriculture in all its aspects: economy, employment, agricultural yield, environment, health, social and education… Find this advocacy in integral, summarized or targeted version on Fermes d’Avenir’s website.

– then 2 workshops about “Convergence points netween organic market gardening and arboriculture” and “My tree: challenges for breeding” with laureates and guests: a rare opportunity of rich discussion about difficulties encountered by farmers but also about good practices of each other. We will notably mention Jérôme Caillé’s testimony, a committed producer of organic poultry, who shared all the benefits of the tree both on the welfare of his breeding as trees favor their release in open air providing shelter, protection and feed supplement, but also on the energy and environmental balance of the whole farm, already very positive (source of income, refuge for biodiversity, preservation of water located downstream the plot, well-being of people on the farm …)

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In summary, it was a delightful for us, since at PUR Projet, we believe in our dream of regenerating all the ecosystems of the planet thanks to Insetting through agroforestry. On a daily basis, we demonstrate that engaging for an integrated climate action (Insetting) and more broadly for environmental projects, benefits both the local stakeholders and their ecosystem, but also the committed company, its model becoming more robust, powerful, legitimate and inspiring for others. Insetting is the key to activating the commitment of all parties to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the development of the multiple benefits generated by our projects through trees.

More about agroforestry and Insetting on PUR Projet’s website.

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