Farming. Organic, local and… urban, western businessmen’s bet

You might have to go a little crazy to embark on an adventure like LISAqua’s: producing high-quality shrimp near towns “to move production as close to consumers as possible”. An environmental and consumer quality issue working since 2018, Charlotte Schulink, PhD in marine biology, Gabriel Bonio, director of marketing for a digital startup, and Carolyn Maddock, an engineer from the School of Mines after working 8 years at Areva. After 4 years of research and development, Nantes filed a patent for the production of shrimp in a closed circuit. Today, the trio-bred prawns grow in large ponds, sheltered in a shed in Saint-Herblain. LISAqua delivers 200 kg of prawns per week to fishmongers, chefs and wholesalers in the area. What entices the client group that grows from year to year: aquaculture that respects the environment, “inspired by nature”answers to Director of Marketing and Finance, Gabriel Boone.

as in nature

He details: ” The principle of shared culture is applied. Besides prawns, bacteria and marine invertebrates also develop. They will capture, process and transform the solid effluent from the shrimp. This is the principle of biodiversity, He explains. This technology allows us to eliminate antibiotic treatments but also to reduce contamination associated with shrimp waste and discharge ». The process developed by Lisaqua saves resources compared to conventional shrimp farming: 20% less feed, 100% antibiotics and additives eliminated, and 99% water saved. Validated production model near Nantes, LISAqua attacks a larger model in the Paris region, more precisely in Seine-et-Marne. But in addition to developing their own farms, the founders want to sell licenses to operate their own modular aquaculture farms, so that local prawns are offered almost everywhere in France or elsewhere to the population at a price equal to the premium shrimp, but at the import one finds in the stalls .

Vertical supports for seedlings

On an area of ​​40 square metres, Florentaise d’Angers vertical farm gives an idea of ​​the potential of urban farming. | Florentise

In the world of aromatic plants, salads, radishes, spinach sprouts and more, this innovation comes from a representative established since 1973, specializing in potting soil, mulching, or soil amendment, for gardeners, professionals or individuals. Indeed, in the products of the urban range of the family group La Florentaise is the HRVST vertical farm. A project started by Antoine Chopin, grandson of the founder, and now international director of innovation for the group. Together with François Tremblay, an engineer who worked on issues of improved lighting to ensure the growth of industrial facilities, he launched the first urban farm on 10 levels in Saint-Mars-du-Désert, and then another in Angers. Advantage: Low floor space needed and the device can even be installed in the Paris metro!

Protect the soil without harming the environment

Innovation, Group Chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Chopin, Antoine’s father, encourages it especially if it comes to helping feed the planet without harming the soil or the environment. “Participation in preserving the environment is a matter of survival instinct,” Says the commander. Originally, the company worked with peat, the main ingredient for growth media produced by the decomposition of plants over thousands of years. “Non-renewables, we had to anticipate that they would disappear one day and find sustainable and effective alternatives.He says. We went to get wood waste from sawmills. Once dried, it blends perfectly into the soil composition and is respectful of the environment. »Pioneering, fruitful innovation strategy. The group now employs 330 people in about ten locations in France and abroad and presents Double-digit growth, around 40% in 2021, says Jean-Pascal Chopin. Its expertise in peat-free soils is a strength when in 2050 the signatories to COP21 committed to halting the exploitation of peatlands once and for all.

educational farm

Breizh Café founder Bertrand Larcher wants to relaunch buckwheat production in Brittany. The owner of the restaurant took the lead on his farm Breizh Café in Saint-Coulomb | Farm Breeze Coffee

Good local, fresh and seasonal produce, Bertrand Larcher, the restaurateur loves it and wants to discover it, in Brittany as in Japan or in Paris. The founder of Breizh Café, in 2004, wants through his restaurants to highlight both organic milk from Froment du Léon cows raised in Laignelet as well as oysters from Cancales or buckwheat, a plant whose cultivation has become scarce and would like to see anew. In love with peasant life, the entrepreneur created Breizh Café Farm in 2017: a 12-hectare farm for educational purposes, located in Saint-Coulomb. Forced to close by the Covid crisis, while in confinement, Bertrand Larcher decided to make it a playground by planting apple trees to make homemade cider and embarking on growing organic buckwheat to make flour for his pies. Once harvested, the beans are dried and cleaned, then ripened for six months in large bags before being ground to stone at the Moulin de la Fatigue in Vitré.

Re-launch buckwheat production

These products and local knowledge, Bertrand Laricher also promotes through his association Kouer Breizhat (“Breton peasant”), which encourages Breton farmers to grow buckwheat. Objective: to reduce buckwheat imports. 70% of the buckwheat consumed in France comes from elsewhere. For a chef, moving production is also a way to reduce his environmental footprint.

Find the electronic file on the file Best Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 award from EY

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