I was thinking about this, but the challenge is language. I toured market gardens in France last year and posted on social media, but language was a barrier. As an English speaker in Austria, I speak German fluently and have access to what German speakers are doing (podcasts are starting lots of blogging, some YouTube, but that pays less in German). I believe in networking and I think there is a lot of valuable experience and resources, from Greece to Norway and Lithuania to Portugal, but if we're not accessing it now in English-language networks and groups, I don't think it would happen with a new group. The European Market Gardening group on Facebook is helpful for sourcing things and there is multi-lingual interaction, but it isn't gaining momentum. I'll provoke a bit: perhaps the Europeans aren't in need of this because, at the end of the day, today's market gardening is thanks to Coleman bringing knowledge and practices back from France and Italy.
You are totally right about the fact that language is a barrier, but I would think that it is not the crucial one. In the UK, for instance, that argument does not apply, and yet apart from the Organic Growers Alliance forum there is very little about regenerative agriculture and nothing on Youtube (apart from the fantastic Tap O' North) or in the way of podcasts. I also agree on the fact that market gardening is not as trendy now as it is in the US, and the cultural belief that it is only another menial job does not attract many young people (the fact that making a living is challenging does not help to change that impression). This is both a disadvantage and an opportunity though, because momentum gets created also thanks to community/media engagement. I believe that Curtis Stone and JM are responsible for the American revival of market gardening, and if it were only for folks like Eliot Coleman we wouldn't see many young people interested in farming.
Hey. Touching base as I’m down the road in Cornwall. @soul.farm on insta
Hey all, we're totally down for more of a European presence. In the future it would be our hope to have someone reporting from Europe. The Covid stuff has slowed us down on some of these plans, but we're definitely game. Would be cool to have the same presence in the Southern Hemisphere and Asia as well. So many great things going on in the no-till realm all over! I also think that what Perkins is/was planning could be good for that. A podcast around it would be cool as well. Feel free to shoot me ideas or let me know about growers you'd like to see featured at notillgrowers @ gmail dot com
I agree that it would be great to see a stronger Southern hemisphere and Asian presence as well. Most of what I can find online is more relating to temperate climates, and people trying to cope with growing through the winter and dealing with subzero (Celcius) condtions. Living in the subtropics our issues run the opposite direction, dealing with 35°+ (95° farenheit) and having very wet then very dry seasons. I added a post a few weeks ago hoping to encourage discussion about hotter climates.
Here in France there's an informal group that is called Living Soils (Maraîchage Sol Vivant). They do a great job sharing ressources and information but I don't think a lot of them speak English. I've already seen a few French farmers mention Curtis Stone, Richard Perkins etc... in discussions online but mostly people seem to be very cautious and doubtful. JM Fortier is more respected now, but at first he wasn't very warmly welcomed to say the least. Typically farmers are having a hard time growing and selling and they tend to react somewhat negatively when you tell them about other production models from across the Atlantic. So, whilst it's true that market gardening is gathering momentum I still think the movement needs to mature further. Things are just starting to move. Another aspect of the problem is that most new market gardeners end up setting shop in rural areas where local folks aren't that eager to support them because they grow food at home themselves and/or they don't have a huge purchasing power so they just buy cheap stuff from Spain or Morocco at th e supermarket (and you can't really blame them). You also have to keep in mind that 20% of the country's population basically lives in Paris. That's also where ALL of the highest-paying jobs are. Parisians are willing to pay top money for farm fresh organic vegetables but there is barely enough supply to meet that demand. Land is prohibitively expensive in Ile-de-France and 99% of the existing farmland around Paris is the playground of huge, unionized grain growers that are supported by the government with subsidies and expansion opportunities. So most of the organic veg you can buy in Paris come from 'légumiers' farmers, ie large-scale, mechanized, organic farms which are in other regions where they grow monoculture cabbage, carrots and leeks etc on dozens of acres.
Great perspective on France, thank you!
Hi all, just saying hello from the Isles of Scilly - former Mossy Willow Farm (australia) intern, running a no-dig market garden on the islands. We're three farmers working together on five different enterprises (pastured duck and turkey, eggs, beef and veg). Would love to be part of any community sharing platform - although starting a podcast would be a bit beyond us. Plus, we love listening to Jesse -- maybe some more European content would be the way forward there. Happy to share tips/suppliers info etc for the South West if that is helpful. If we can get it to Scilly, you can get it anywhere! It's a challenging season to be starting out in -- like a lot of others, we made a mad-dash for the CSA model a couple of months ago. Give us a shout if you need a (virtual) hand.