Michael Fields Agricultural Institute logo
At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

Former MFAI Garden Intern Jérôme Laloux opens farm bakery in France

From engineer to peasant baker, the successful conversion of Jérôme Laloux to Boiry-Sainte-Rictrude
Doing a job that makes sense and working with nature is what Jerome Laloux was looking for when he left his engineering career in construction several years ago. After becoming a baker, he opened his workshop in a wing of the family farm in Boiry-Sainte-Rictrude. Doors open this Saturday.

La Voix du Nord La Voix Du Nord By Lisa Lasselin |Posted on 24/09/2019

  Like every Friday morning, Jérôme Laloux kneads bread dough in the bakehouse he has built in a wing of his farm. Here, the walls are mud and it works in the old, with a wood oven, far from its old offices in downtown Lille. ” I was working for a big company and I was driving projects to build shopping centers. Over the years, I felt like putting my energy into things that were meaningless, “says the 34-year-old.

So he decides to leave his job, and travels. As a first adventure, it will be a hitchhiking trip from Lille to Sweden. There he made his first woofing. He volunteers on a farm for several weeks. He will take the experiment to the United States, where he joins an agricultural institute and discovers organic market gardening. ” There we are more aware of the ravages of overconsumption, it makes you think, “ says Jerome.

The green building
After many experiences and meetings, his project seems to have been drawn: he will take over the family farm of fifty hectares to convert it into organic and install a bakery workshop.
After training in agriculture and bakery, as well as two years to discover the job on several farms, he began building his bakehouse. For six days, thanks to the site Twiza.org (to contribute to participatory projects) and the association Initiatives Paysannes , sixty volunteers will parade on the farm to build the mud walls. ” Everything is done in eco-construction. These participative projects are a great moment of sharing where know-how is transmitted, “ says the baker.

Bread for the boatmen
For the oven, it will be a wood oven. ” I did not want a standard electric oven, I wanted to build a tool in accordance with my values, that is to say with the healthiest materials possible, while limiting the use of energy. ”

A bargain will be offered to him: that of recovering the oven of an old bakery Douai. ” At the time, bread was made for boatmen. ” I dismantled the refractory bricks and tiles, and then reassemble the whole on the farm, “says the baker, who has once again found help through a participatory site.

Today, he makes leavened bread with his own cereals and flour. Between the fields and the workshop, and his new project of selling organic meat, the former engineer admits to have little time to blow. ” One week is between 60 and 70 hours of work, there are days when we question ourselves. What motivates me is mainly the fact of relocating food, that is to offer people the opportunity to eat healthy and produced products next to their home “, concludes Jérôme, who says he is lucky to have received the but also the moral support of his father, Louis, as well as other members of his family.

A visit to the farm?

As part of the program “Eating organic and local is good by the climate”, organized by Biocoop and the FNAB (national federation of organic agriculture), with the support of the Region and the Department, La ferme des Trognes opens its doors on Saturday, September 28, 2019, from 2 pm to 6 pm

” I want to show that a farm in transition, that bio is a model and a possible and necessary alternative. We do not have to stay in the pattern of expansion and conventional farming , “says Jérôme Laloux, who will present the family farm alongside his father, still in charge of the farm until January. On the program of the visit: tastings of products, games of riddles and a visit of the farm, the bakery and the herd.

MFAI is so proud of our former garden apprentice Jérôme Laloux! Congratulations on the opening of your farm-to-bread bakery!