French farm aims to grow new crop of farmers

phys.org | 8/19/2018 | Staff
Caris (Posted by) Level 3
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They bandy about terms like "co-working" but instead of coding and developing algorithms in open space offices they work out in the open trying to tease tomatoes from the soil.

Welcome to the Hundredth Monkey Farm where aspiring farmers can benefit from the same type of coaching and shared resources that many hi-tech startups get from business incubators or co-working.

Name - Homage - Monkey - Effect - Concept

The name pays homage to the hundredth monkey effect, the concept that an idea or behaviour will spread rapidly once it is adopted by a critical mass.

This farm in Belberaud outside the southern French city of Toulouse is seeking to promote a "more sober, more durable" alternative to industrial farming, one that is adapted to small holdings.

Monkeys - Farming

And its "monkeys" aren't necessarily born into farming.

Sacha Danjou, 25, is a former aeronautical engineer learning to manage a farm.

Farmer - World - Lot - Areas - Biology

"Being a farmer, it's a different world that touches on a lot of different areas: biology, management, accounting." he said standing amongst rows of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other vegetables.

"When you are not part of it, it's difficult" to get started, he added.

Euros - Month - Danjou - Hands - Parcel

Here, for roughly 300 euros ($340) per month, Danjou gets to test his hands with a parcel of 5,000 square metres (half a hectare, 1.2 acres) that has access to water and electricity.

Moreover, he has access to farm machinery that all the aspiring farmers share.

Tractors - Tillers - Euros - Cost - Land

The tractors and tillers alone cost around 40,000 euros. Adding that to the cost of land shows how setting up a farm is a costly endeavour.

"The risk is there when you start," said Danjou.

Costs - Amount - Sales - Year - Mistakes

"You buy, you have huge costs, you need to generate a certain amount of sales from the first year, you can't make any mistakes," he said as he worked the soil. "Without experience, it's scary."

'Agricultural co-working'

Amandine - Largeaud - Founders - Hundredth - Monkey

Amandine Largeaud, one of the founders of the Hundredth Monkey Farm, calls their...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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