Welcome to our fourth podcast from BAQUA! In this episode, first Alice talks about the 2017 Convention, then we are into our interview with Axelle Vallet of CitizenFarm, Toulouse, France.
CitizenFarm based out of Toulouse France was an exciting choice of interview. CitizenFarm tries to approach aquaponics by reconnecting city-dwellers with their food production – and puts their energy into R&D, raising awareness around food issues and aquaponics as an option, and by sharing aquaponic products and services. CitizenFarm offers home-scale products (ozarium), Community Scale systems (oikofarm), farming solutions (la recyclerie).
We are very excited about these community-oriented approaches to aquaponics because there is a difference in how these systems can be fully valorised. If we want to compete commercially – surely it won’t- at these smaller scales- be on yield and low price basis… however if we start to question – this food though? – is it as nutritious as it could be? Is it good for us or good for you? What trade-offs have you made in the production? Were those at the cost of people, the environment or the wellbeing of livestock? Perhaps this smaller-scale of operation can out-value the competition…
And then… we can find additional gains – fully valorised – in connection with community, interaction with issues of health and wellbeing, in length of supply chain, transparency of production and in integration with other waste streams. Aquaponics -if it has the capacity for anything – it is as an intervention in urban metabolism – in city life – a multifunctional farm in an integrated city… because in the future- farming won’t exist in a bubble – far away where we can’t imagine it. CitizenFarm – invites us in…
It’s at CitizenFarm’s Oikofarm; bang in the centre of Toulouse in the botanical gardens that Alice visits Axelle Vallet. The Oikofarm like many before it- is a lorry-body with a greenhouse superimposed; with the same production issues of its predecessors. Sitting in a neighbouring park Alice and Axelle share CitizenFarm’s learning and Axelle’s journey in aquaponics and in business. She is authentic, vulnerable even, admitting her own journey without pretence of ‘knowing it all’. Her openness endears us to her- all of us had to grow in order to learn to grow. It feels to us like a technique of older generations of entrepreneurs – faking it till they make it.
As Seth Godin puts it – “Everyone who is doing important work is working on something that might not work. And it’s extremely likely that they’re also not the very best qualified person on the planet to be doing that work”.
Anyway – it’s refreshing. We love the interview and Axelle and CitizenFarm.
In this show Axelle mentions several things – so links to those here:
FInd CitizenFarm in our Geodirectory