France’s field-to-table agricultural approach
31 October 2016 • Author(s): Roy Manuell
Following on from our feature on French cuisine, New Food decided to speak to freelance journalist Kait Bolongaro for a further insight into what might be described as a ‘post-industrial’ approach to agriculture in light of an article she penned on the nation’s ‘field-to-table’ culture.
1. In your article ‘Post-industrial agriculture: France’s field-to-table approach to food’ you talk about the importance of agriculture and fresh markets to French gastronomy. Just how key is this to French cuisine?
Fresh, quality ingredients are the backbone of French cuisine. There is a general distrust among French people about the freshness of supermarket products, so they prefer to go to the market. The market has also been an important part of French culture for centuries making the practice of going to the market to buy products from the farmers a normal shopping routine for the French.
2. How is climate change affecting this culture?
Climate change is certainly impacting French gastronomy. For example, climate change is harming grapes in the south, threatening France’s wine industry. However, some farmers in colder regions see climate change as an opportunity to have a longer growing season to compete with neighbouring Spain and Italy, who dominate Europe’s produce markets.
3. What does ‘Post-industrialisation’ mean for France’?
In France, it means a farmer-led return to sustainability and increasing demand for local products. There is also an increasing demand for organic products, especially since the French media has recently been devoting a lot of coverage to health problems connected to pesticides.
It is also widely known that French farmers have an extremely high suicide rate, as well as their poor relationships with supermarkets, so French people are sensitive to that as well.
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