Marie Bonneville, winner of the International Terre de Femmes Award 2021 from the Yves Rocher Foundation, lists, preserves and disseminates knowledge about seeds and local seeds to save a whole section of the plant and cultural heritage of the Andes.
Promote knowledge, development and use of peasant seeds
Marie Bonneville is in love with her terroir in the La Roya valley. To preserve and defend the plant genetic heritage of local products, it created La Maison des Semences Paysannes Maralpines (MSPM), a collective of citizens committed to the dissemination and sharing of seeds from the Alpes-Maritimes region. For her action in favor of seed protection, she received special mention of the International Terre de Femmes Award from the Yves Rocher Foundation.
The legacy commitment
Surrounded by a biodiversity as rich as it is alive, Marie grew up to the rhythm of transhumance. This nature lover has been, since 2010, a nurseryman and artisan-seed producer and the bearer of the initiative around the Maison des Semences Paysannes Maralpines (MSPM). The objective of its action is to work for the safeguard of the seed heritage cultivated in the territory of the Alpes-Maritimes. Established as a farmer for ten years, and certified with the AB label since 2014, Marie fights to promote cultivated biodiversity by producing, on her land, plants for farmers and amateur gardeners.
I made the choice to defend organic farming that respects people and the environment. I cultivate on my farm a great diversity of old seeds adapted to my soil, and to my mountain climate.
Preserving local diversity
Perfectly mastering her environment, Marie wants to promote a more responsible cultivation method, and offer her customers seeds that are reproducible and adaptable to climate upheavals. The farmer also selects varieties based on taste and nutritional criteria, which she considers essential since the awareness that arose during the ten years she worked in the restaurant industry. While in the kitchen, she noted with dismay the impoverishment of the diversity of emblematic products, yet the identity of local gastronomy. On the strength of her experience, Marie undertakes a professional reconversion to turn again to her essential: working the land. One way for this seed of an ecologist to participate on its own scale, to preserve the cultivated biodiversity that it makes available to market gardeners and gardeners in the area.
Develop knowledge and use of seeds and peasant seeds
The idea came up against the reluctance of some farmers towards peasant seeds, convinced of their lack of productivity or the uncertain reliability of their germination rate. But, through hard work, the young woman managed to mobilize around her a solid network to finally create La Maison des Semences Paysannes Maralpines. These peasants, gardeners, researchers, chefs, citizens, united as a collective, all share the same attachment to the richness of the land. Together, around Mary, they work to collect, cultivate and distribute local seeds. Storm Alex, which hit the region last October, caused extensive damage, leaving many residents in distress and isolation. This disaster reinforced Marie’s determination to extend her action to forge stronger bonds of solidarity and to work for ever more resilient, ever more united agriculture.
Vous aussi, vous avez un projet en faveur de la biodiversité, avec une visée sociale et environnementale ? Vous cherchez à être soutenue ?