Today, we’re introducing you to a grower who stands out from the crowd: Rozenn Blanchard, an organic vegetables grower in Plouguiel in the department of Côtes d’Armor (22). Rozenn is married to a farmer, and until recently she was employed in the banking sector. Today, she finds fulfilment working the land to produce high-quality organic vegetables. Why did she decide to become a farmer? How is she finding this new career? Which vegetables does she produce? Read on to learn the answers to all these questions.
From banking to farming organic vegetables
In 2013, Rozenn’s husband Grégory took over Kerflaca farm in Plouguiel (Côtes d’Armor), where he’d been employed for four years. Like many other Breton farmers’ partners, Rozenn helped out on the farm while holding down a separate full-time job. She was already involved in the running of the farm, and was enjoying it. Then, in 2020, she decided to leave her job as director of a bank branch to work with her husband full time. “I’d reached the limit of what I could accomplish in my job locally. It was also a decision based on family reasons. Our family life is organised around the farm. Of course I’m very busy on the farm, but I have more free time than I did before.”
Growing organic vegetables: a clear choice
The farm at Kerflaca has around fifty hectares which produce more than ten varieties of organic vegetables[JW1] , including shallots, artichokes, cauliflower, autumn broccoli, fennel, potatoes and various types of squash.
For Rozenn and Grégory, whose education was in the field of environmental studies, the decision to work with organics was clear.
”It’s a state of mind. We respect the land and the environment. We don’t add anything inorganic, and we work in harmony with the seasons.”
Growing organic vegetables: passion and rigour
The crop rotation cycle required for organic vegetable production means working with more vegetable varieties than in conventional agriculture. Rozenn, however, sees this as an advantage.
“I can do ten different things in one day. There’s a lot of variety.”
As for the demanding specifications of organic production, here again she sees benefits.
“We have a very technical profession that requires a lot of mechanical and manual work. We also spend a lot of time observing the crops. You have to have foresight. We’re constantly checking the weather. But we’re proud to be growing good, healthy vegetables.”
Organic farmer 3.0
Before becoming an employee on the farm, Rozenn was already involved in Les Maraîchers d’Armor co-operative, in which she and her husband are members. For ten years, she’s been an active member of the “recipe group”, which develops simple, original recipes featuring vegetables grown in the area. As well as posting these recipes online, the group participates in in-store demonstrations and local events.
“These are good opportunities to meet and speak with consumers, and explain our profession.”
Since December, Rozenn has also been president of Les Maraîchers d’Armor’s communications working group. In particular, she works on developing the social network presence of the co-op, the growers and their products. “I still have a beginner’s perspective on the profession. This probably helps me promote it as an enriching and fulfilling career.”
Rozenn won’t remain a beginner for long, but her enthusiasm is sure to keep her promoting the attractiveness of organic farming far into the future.