This post has also been a long time coming so please bear with me in the fact that I am the laziest blogger ever.
About a month ago I had a week’s worth of courses with La Bergerie Nationale, an experimental farm in Rambouillet that has been around for more than 100 years. This farm is located right by where REEDS is, so it is very cool that we could have a partnership with them for my Sustainable Agriculture class.
One of the days that I had class with the Bergerie, the other students and I were given a tour of the farm and told about all of the different types of cultivation that goes on there. The farm, in addition to growing some crops, has cows, donkeys, goats, chickens, rabbits, and sheep, including the Merino breed that is famous for its wool. It was interesting to learn about the ins and outs of how a real sustainable farm functions. It was cool to see a profitable farm’s approach to different issues because I had studied previously in the course virtual examples of problems of sustainability in regards to agriculture. Also, the only real farm that I have had experience with in the past is Albion’s student farm, which is different as it hasn’t yet reached the point where it raises much of a profit. I know I didn’t catch every last detail because the person in charge who was giving the tour spoke very rapid French but I still enjoyed it.
We also got to walk around the area surrounding the Bergerie with a woman who studies landscapes. She told us some interesting things about how the Bergerie used to be a kind of hunting resort for Louis XVI. We also discussed biodiversity and the fact that you can determine the biodiversity of an area in part by looking at what kinds of insects inhabit that area. If you want certain insects to stay away from a field because they hurt your crops, you can plant something that attracts them in another place and they are likely not to bother your crops. This to me is an amazing example of agroecology, using ecological systems to naturally deal with agricultural problems. It’s also a pretty darn ingenious technique!
Anyway I really enjoyed the classes with the Bergerie and I feel like seeing real problems that face a farm and how these probems can be dealt was beneficial for me. I will leave you with some pictures of the Bergerie.