Des femmes, des terres, des plantes aromatiques

Help us give new life to abandoned farmland and create jobs!

Project visual Des femmes, des terres, des plantes aromatiques
Successful
60
Backers
06/08/2015
End date
€2,901
Out of €2,450
118 %

Des femmes, des terres, des plantes aromatiques

A group of women, some land, an idea of working together growing aromatic herbs, and Naturellement Chouette is born.  In 2013 we created this non profit organisation which brings together six women, all wanting to work in a way that makes sense on every level (for us, as well as for economy and ecology of our area).

 

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The women

Lesley, Florence, Kate, Swan, Julie, Sophie, we are from various backgrounds and have a range of skills. Julie grew up on a farm and feels at home working the land, Swan and Sophie have in-depth plant knowledge, Kate is a trained accountant, Florence's job involves helping group projects get started, Lesley has worked in publishing and is the communicator. Since the creation of Naturellement Chouette we have all been taking training courses to improve our knowledge. We are all also bringing up our children.

 

The land

We are working on land which has been abandoned for years, often old vineyards, around where we live.  Rather than a large scale, highly mechanised mono-culture, producing plants to sell by weight, our land is made up of small fields adapted to the scale on which we want to operate.  We use small machinery or work manually (the best way to care for aromatic plants). Our aim is to make our own products with our own plants.  Our project has inspired the landowners in the area, including the local council, who were quick to rent us some fields to get started.

 

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The plants

We have chosen plants that are well adapted to the soils of the region, and the Mediterranean climate - thyme, lavender, savory, oregano, mint, verbena and sage. We bought the plants from an organic grower based a few kilometres from here. We are not seeking an organic certification as this is a lengthy and expensive process, but we work without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides and our fields have been empty for many years.

 

Ideas

The Haute Vallée de l'Aude is a forgotten corner of France. The unemployment rate is high, if you want to work, you often have to create your own job. The aim of Naturellement Chouette is to re-use abandoned fields to grow aromatic plants. We work as a cooperative, where everyone contributes to the decision making process. We prioritise proximity in our choice of partners, but in our search for ideas and information and research on techniques our sources are global.

We create products for which the production processes are simple. Our first product,  VAM  - Vinaigre Aromatique Ménager (Aromatic Cleaning Vinegar) is based on a very old recipe.  Our dream is to market this product (which Lesley has been making for years with plants from her garden) as an alternative to the chemical cleaning products found in most homes.  Our long term aim is that VAM users will be able to bring their bottles back to be refilled. Our latest product, a herb salt with 50 per cent herbs, is already on sale along side VAM in certain local shops. 

 

         

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The desire to work together

We meet up as a group to work in our fields, harvest and dry our plants, make and sell our products, create and plan our brand.  Working as a collective gives our project its impetus and strength and will, we believe, make Naturellement Chouette economically viable in the long term.

 

The future

We have created a non profit organisation in order to start our activity, create our products and market test them.  Next we plan to create a cooperative and jobs. This is a 'transition' project aimed at developing the local economy. We have invested from our own pockets (to buy plants, a water pump, packaging for our products...). To continue supplying our clients and increase our production we plan to plant more fields.

 

That's why we are inviting you to support our project...

 

 

 

 

 

Allocation of funds

 

The money we collect will be used to buy more plants which we will put into the ground this year  - lavender, rosemary, sage, savory and verbena. Budget: 520 euros.

 

We are also in need of good quality tools and equipment  - a small plough, a cultivator, a strimmer and some hand tools. Budget: 1 500 euros.

 

To finance a draining operation on some of our fields where the clay soil gets waterlogged. Budget: 150 euros.

 

We would like to finance the use of animal traction to work our land, working this way is cleaner, quieter, and leaves the earth less compacted. Budget.: 280 euros.

 

If we collect more than our target  we will invest the extra money in a space to dry and process our plants.

 

Choose your reward

€5

The pleasure of putting a smile on the face of every women in the collective and two packets of herb tea (mint and verbena) which you can either come and collect, or add 2 euros for postage;
  • 5 backers

€15

As above, plus two handmade screen printed lavender bags, add 2 euros for postage if you are unable to come and collect.
  • 15 backers

€30

As above plus a handmade upcycled tote bag in linen or cotton, made by a friend from our area, screen printed with our logo. Add 3 euros if you want to receive this present by post.
  • 5 backers

€50

As above, plus a present of each of our products, VAM, herb salt. The first 10 donors of 50 euros will receive a special 'early bird' present of an upcycled apron printed with our logo! To receive this present by post add 7 euros for postage.
  • 9 backers

€75

As above, plus two upcycled tea towels screen printed with our logo and a 'washing up sponge' made from recycled t shirts. Add 7 euros for postage if you can't come an visit us.
  • 2 backers

€100

A guided tour of our fields to see how our plants are grown. You will take away a screen printed bag filled with our products.
  • 6 backers

€200

A very big thank you! We invite you to come and spend an afternoon with us in our beautiful fields to see how we work and learn more about growing aromatic herbs. We will serve you with a picnic of delicious local produce on our sunny terraces (or in the shade by the spring if it is very hot!). You will take away a screen printed bag filled with our products and an apron screen printed with our logo.
  • 1 backer

€250

A special thank you present! Thank you also to Alison from www.vinetcompany.com, who is supporting our campaign by offering an evening of wine tasting at your home (or in a gîte if you are here on holiday). You will taste several wines from small vineyards in the region, accompanied by Jean Luc, sommelier with Vin et Company. We will supply locally made saucisson, cheese and bread to help you stay the distance! You have two years to use or lose this one off and rather lovely present!
  • Availability: 1/1

€500

Thank you very much for such generous support! We invite you to come and spend an afternoon with us in our beautiful fields to see how we work and learn more about growing aromatic herbs. We will serve a picnic of delicious local produce on our sunny terraces. You will take away a screen printed bag filled with our products and a limited edition signed print of a painting by a local artist (A.Rmyth). We will donate 5 euros to three nearby crowdfunding campaigns in the category of ecology.
  • 1 backer

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