23 September 2020

Farmers: poisoned lives

Two testimonies presented on the French radio, France Culture, demonstrate the difficulties met by new rural dwellers, particularly if they farm differently from local farmers.

In 2020, in Provence (south-east of France), an organic farmer sees his greenhouse vandalised, his crops die and he, himself, becomes seriously ill, poisoned by a well-known herbicide, glyphosate, applied on his plants by criminals at a dose fifteen times greater than the norm.

Left with a useless greenhouse, the harvest lost, his land unfit for organic farming because polluted by a herbicide, he is close to giving up farming.

With the help of crowdfunding, he relaunches his activity and establishes a community garden.

A great example of solidarity and resilience!

In 2018, in Occitanie (south of France), a couple raises goats. They are the only ones who produce goat cheese in the area. One day, they find their 12 goats dying in the field, poisoned. It is evidently a malicious act.

The case does not mobilise local authorities and laboratories are incapable of identifying the poison administered to the animals.

Today, the couple has luckily been able to rebuild their herd, but they had to install monitoring devices to protect it and they cannot leave it grazing peacefully as before.

In these two cases, which are far from being isolated, the authorities have not found the culprits who are free to repeat their wrongdoings…

New rural dwellers - and more generally - innovators are often unwelcome in rural areas. In many places, people look down on those who do not behave like everyone else. At first, they are considered with a smirk and all expect them to fail. Whenever they succeed and demonstrate that it is possible to have a better life through a more sustainable agriculture, they may be subject to malicious acts similar to those presented here.

Evidently, these acts are intolerable and should be taken seriously by the authorities.


To listen the report on France Culture (in French):

  1. Agriculteurs : La vie empoisonnée, Les pieds sur terre par Sonia Kronlund, France Culture, 2020.

Selection of past articles on related to the topic:

  1. Pesticides: an issue that poisons our agriculture, 2020.

  2. Is organic agriculture, under pressure from consumers, turning into the central element of the transition from a conventional “chemical” agriculture towards a more sustainable agriculture? 2018.

  3. Production and use of pesticides: an infringement on the rights to food and health, 2017.

  4. Food, Environment and Health, 2017.

  5. The European Union and glyphosate: an illustration of one of the principles that govern our society, 2016.

  6. Researchers show that organic agriculture generates more economic value than conventional agriculture, 2015.

See also the articles in our section on « Sustainable food and agriculture ».


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Last update:    September 2020