Le Grand-Pressigny: ten years later, their luck is still in the vegetable garden

 

At the end of April 2024, frost caused some damage in the vegetable and nutrition garden of Sébastien Clerbout, located in Sud-Touraine, between Le Petit and Le Grand-Pressigny. His cabbage and fruit trees were particularly affected.

“Prediction and prevention is the daily business of every farmer”, smiles this man in his forties with a cap screwed on his head. And his vigilance is heightened as Sébastien runs a living market gardening (MSV) business. “It is a set of agroecological practices that put the soil back at the center of the cultivation system”, explains. All of course without pesticides, insecticides, but also without mechanization. “Here we do everything by hand or with hand tools like the grinette, which aerates the soil without breaking our backs”Sébastien Clerbout testifies.

“You had to live with it too”

It must be said that in ten years of experience, his field experience has developed significantly for this trained logistics facilitator. “I worked for a company that put the client in contact with a lot of craftsmen in the construction industry. Mainly office work. With my wife Béatrice and our six children, we lived in Tours-Nord with a small garden of 20 m².laid out by a market gardener.

In early 2010, he used the social plan to change his professional life. “I needed something concrete and to taste the value of effort. On our vacations at that time, we met a lot of non-outdoorsy people who started organic farming.’he remembers

An idea germinates and takes off. In 2011 he passed the Professional Agricultural Business Manager (BPREA) certificate, a prerequisite for any installation.

In 2014, the couple arrived in South Touraine and rented a house surrounded by 7,000 m² of agricultural land. At that time, wheat, corn and sunflowers grew there.

Two jobs for four years

Beginnings are delicate. “We were motivated and tried a lot of things, especially summer crops. We had a spirit of discovery and curiosity, but we also had to live it”Sébastien repeated.

For four years, he took a second job as a dairy quality inspector on behalf of the Indre-et-Loire Chamber of Agriculture to support himself and his small family.

The meeting will be decisive for Sébastien. “Shortly after the installation, I had the opportunity to meet Xavier Mathias (1) and he inspired me a lot. His techniques and advice on the types of vegetables to use were invaluable.”emphasizes.

Fifty vegetables grown throughout the year

Sébastien, with the help of Béatrice, grows in greenhouses more than fifty different types of vegetables and a hundred different and old varieties, especially tomatoes. “We diversify as much as possible and practice combining crops like parsnips with radishes for example”explains.

Sébastien graduated in 2023 in agrobiology after completing distance learning courses at Quebecer Jean-Martin Fortier. Passionate and in love with his profession, even if it means not going on vacation from 2019, today Sébastien is a happy gardener who will celebrate ten years of gardening on May 8, 2024.

In the future, he would like to hold workshops on market gardening for the general public. A way to give back to the country the benefits it has brought to it.

(1) Author of books and radio columnist (especially France Inter), but also Youtuber, farmer and trainer in agroecology and permaculture based in Chédigny in South-Touraine.

Wednesday 8 May from 10:00 to 18:00 open house and activities at “Petit jardin dans la prairie”, Moulin de Favier, Le Grand-Pressigny. Sale of vegetables and plants, designer craft market and self catering. Information: 06.33.63.96.18. and [email protected]

Direct sales at markets

Sébastien Clerbiout, who is present with Béatrice at the markets of Grand-Pressigny on Thursdays, Abilly on Fridays and Beaulieu-lès-Loches on Sundays, has no other economic outlet. “We used to sell vegetables in the supermarket, but it was heartbreaking to see the vegetables spoiling in the stalls and ending up in the bin. And then direct interaction with our customers is essential”, suggests. The gardener never received any financial assistance for his installation. “I contacted the community of municipalities, but I was told that it was too late, that the envelope was already exhausted. » No certification or label (type of organic farming) is attached to its operation. “I don’t agree with them because I find their charters don’t go far enough, it’s too easy to get around their rules and then they change too much over time. »

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