Farmer designers, agriculture on the move

from 14 July 2021 to 8 May 2022

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Sébastien Blache and Elsa Gärtner

44°57'01"N, 5°00'22"E
Grand Laval farm, Montélier, Drôme

“Planting trees is not enough. You have to make an effort to bring in biodiversity. With as many living things as possible, we are optimising the possibilities of service provided. We trust nature.” 

In 2006, Sébastien Blache took over his grandfather's farm in the Drôme region, on the chemin de Grand Laval. Partnered by his wife, Elsa Gärtner, he turned these former intensive grain-farming plains into a wild farm and a welcoming environment for biodiversity in which many ecosystems live side by side. A self-taught naturalist and ornithologist at the LPO (French Bird Protection League), he promotes a new model in which farming and the living world are inseparable and find the right balance together. For birds, insects and small animals, he plants hedges, creates aquatic micro-ecosystems in the form of pools and sets up dozens of nesting boxes tailored to different species. Chickens and ewes are raised with dynamic rotational grazing in the middle of the orchard, thanks to small infrastructures such as mobile chicken coops. Planting trees all over the farm and growing fruit, cereals and legumes significantly contribute to developing biodiversity. Thanks to the broad diversity of the crops present, the produce is processed and sold all year round directly on the farm.

His mission seems to have been accomplished when, binoculars around his neck, he spots a rare migratory bird taking a break on one of his plots.

For more information: 
Grand Laval farm