Sunday, January 16

With the health crisis, dreams of autonomy

From London to a hamlet in Cantal: Juliette and Thibault have left everything to “connect with nature”, a frugal choice of life reinforced by the health crisis which has fueled dreams of food and energy self-sufficiency.

Eager to “get back to healthy things”, the couple produce their food, dress in flea markets, limit their electricity consumption, save water: “no shower, we wash with a washcloth!” says Juliette Ricci, 37, who taught French in London.

“We are not 100% self-sufficient, but we manage to have our vegetables, our dairy products, our eggs, meat, honey,” explains her husband Thibault, also 37, an architect who worked for the firm. by Jean Nouvel.

The Ricci have embarked their two daughters of 8 and 4 years in their new life, between bakery, sheep breeding and “old-fashioned” workshops in this postcard setting, on the slopes of Puy Mary, at 1,200 meters altitude.

Cantal attracts because it has “the advantage of being far from nuclear power plants, Seveso sites, of having unspoiled nature and accessible land”, explains Mathieu Foudral, a permacultor in the region who offers training on food autonomy.

Its audience: “people of all ages, often people in professional transition, in burn-out, damaged by the crisis, who no longer find meaning, like nurses or teachers”. Other rural departments, such as the Pyrenees, Dordogne, Lot, Aveyron or Lozère also appeal to candidates for autonomy.

“Self-sufficiency means having the ability to say to yourself + I did it myself and I don’t need everything else, to spend money to get by +”, underlines Thibauld Ricci.

The family had initially taken over the bakery in a neighboring village, but the confinement changed its original plan.

Twice a week, the former architect gets up at dawn to knead his organic breads by hand in a stone oven without electricity, before baking them in the oven he built himself; then to deliver his batch in the canteens of Aurillac.

A big difference for the one who lived in London then in Norway: “I had the impression of having done the tour of the architectural profession, my grandfather was a baker, it must have resonated somewhere …”

And “when we see everything that is happening with the health pass and all the complications around it, we say to ourselves + we are fine, perched on our mountain +!”, He says.

– Three hens, 21 eggs –

“On less than a hectare, what can we have? For example, three hens which give us 21 eggs per week. We know what our hens eat, how they are treated, this allows us to have a different relationship with what we put on our plate “, emphasizes Juliette.

Coming from Blois, the Rivière family has taken the plunge after confinement and is preparing to live on a farm in Cantal. Franck, the father of the family, is about to leave a comfortable job in a design office to join a mechanical company near Aurillac.

“The confinement was a trigger that allowed us to take action. We no longer want to waste our life in winning it. We have everything to learn again, we will have to roll up our sleeves,” predicts his wife Cécile, a 43-year-old teacher.

They landed in the village of Prunet for an internship with a follower of collapsology who founded a “resilient eco-island”.

This choice of life “affects all layers of the population, the crisis reinforces them because they realized the fragility of the system”, explains Remy Richard, their trainer and now neighbor.

This former computer scientist teaches “the principle of resilience” to those who want to move from the current system “promised to collapse” to greater autonomy in all areas (education, health, energy, food).

But according to him, “the profile of the green with his yurt and his dreadlocks, it’s over.”

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