“In organic farming, you have to learn to think differently!”
Bernard Govier is one of the pioneers of organic farming in Great Britain: "Without knowing it, my family had already gone organic in the 1950s! They refused to believe the large companies who attempted to induce them to improve production using chemical fertilisers and pesticides!" In 1983, he created his own company, Langridge Farm: "I did not really need to learn everything from scratch, although you never stop learning in this job. In organic farming, you have to adapt all the time." He knows the land by heart: "Soil should be in good organic condition. There are worms, microbes, bacteria. It is alive when you can smell it. It smells good. Artificially maintained soil is almost dead..."
To maintain a balance, Bernard recommends long crop rotation, which minimises the risk of disease.
He fertilises his fields with clover...and sheep: "These are organic sheep! It's important to have several rotation options, and in my opinion animals should form part of this cycle to ensure better fertilisation of the land."
Langridge Organic Growers now consist of a team of growers all working to a planned production. Bernard has been distributing his products in the United Kingdom for 17 years, during which time he has got to know the market: "In this country, for example, people prefer tomatoes to be small, round and firm, whereas the French and Italians prefer them to be big and soft-textured..." But he does not hide his desire to see the English supermarkets turn towards the varieties cultivated by his Italian partners: "What is important for us is to be able to work as a team, to discuss our problems with the distributors. We have to learn to think differently. That's how we will be able to improve the quality of our products."