The Incredible conference Cergy FranceLast update: 10.11.14 First posted: 9.11.14 by Mary in Incredible Spreadable
Well knock me down with a feather. Who would Adam and Eve it?
A worldwide net work run by volunteers covering 400 projects in France and many across the world. How have they collaborated so efficiently?
I came to France to participate in the conference in Cergy one day for France one day for the rest f the world project news. I had no idea what would be the outcome.
First I met with the movements movers and shakers in a house belonging to Mark, squeezed into the book lined front room,
we talked about dreams and directions, what became clear is these comrades live hundreds of miles from each other, yet had collaborated together to arrange the conference, feed and welcome the guests and co-ordinate the event.
How had they done it? Using face book, open source communication platforms and the good old phone, it seemed to me looking I that they were all from close b, it’s my little island thinking.
I did not expect to meet the wonderful man from Morocco who has been working with a co-op growing Argan trees and producing the oil, the incredible project developing key hole gardens and developing bridges between isolated women.
Bravo incredible Morocco! He gave me a bottle of the precious stuff, I will have to google what it does .
lots of us in the room had leaky eyes when the beautiful woman talked about Palestine, the room willed the speaker to continue talking through her own tears,
could it really be true that building keyhole gardens and growing and sharing food can contribute to peace, of course it can, to do nothing is the problem, the power of small actions will make a difference.
the Agan oil producer pledged to be the supplier of seeds for Palestine growers, the prefecture of Cergy want to develop a relationship with Palestine.
Out side of the venue a local man towed a huge recycled up cycled composting wonder, he built it to share knowledge about composting with young children,
earlier in the day we passed another one of his creations in the park.
The officials of Cergy are right behind the incredibles, 120 different races are resident in the town, the officials have seen the power of growing and sharing to bring communities together, the town hall. People have released land and resources to help the movement grow stronger.
Africa? Yep that big problem,
that massive continent, that unimaginable poverty, all of it laid down for us to consider by two articulate passionate women, both of them know about corruption and hope. Hope for an incredible intervention and unshakable belief that things can and will be better.
A shared belief that the time has come to do things differently.
The French talk a lot, well in my view they do as I am known for brevity? I had an hour, too long for me even with the translator so I use my time for questions.
It’s only by braving the unknown we can become clear in what we are doing, one of the questions was the old nutty / shitty chestnut about todmorden becoming self sufficient in 20018, the question was how far away from that goal are you now, the answer was easy, “we most probably will never meet that target, but that’s not to say a group should not have a dream”
The words had left my mouth with out any spin or regret and they were understood by the room, the power of dreams is known by all.
Some readers might not know but many years ago in our excitement of the newness and passion we said that was our aim to be self sufficient in fruit, veg and meat in 10 years, Later we knew more about the soil, the seasons, and the reality of that aim.
That aim was never going to be attainable, but that does not mean we should not set the marker high, the Incredible Farm has moved miles in the right direction as have many local new food producers.
idealists, literalists, and pessimists like to question us on that early aim and yet others more able, have set themselves that very target and are well on the way to doing it, bravo you lucky buggers.
The audience differs very much from UK folk, we never had a single instant of problem talk, they like to know facts, what about pollution? What about soil quality, I love those questions.
Some of my Maryish answers may well be lost in translation.
The French organise their conferences in a very old school, full on academic style, they sit glued to every word for hours and hours fueled by herb teas and chocolate.
You never know who will be in the audience only two surprises this time, a woman clutching the incredible book, English, living in Cergy for 30 years, she had come to have the book signed, the second was a lovely young man from New Zealand who said they were ready to ediblelize Christchurch, beautiful news.
Afterwards late, very late by our standards 9pm, with loads of French kissing we left the venue. The team went to a restaurant to talk more then we stayed over night at Catherine’s house, which is a Mary dream,
a mash up of Hindi, Indie, Catholic,
German and French my kind of style.
Two things you must know
1. Pierre Rabhi
is a kind of gardener / philosopher who is very important in France and it’s clear that they love him .
2. Permaculture is very important to the French, very, very, very.
Got the Archers on in our Paris Garret so have to stop.
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