The “garden turtle” has proven itself and is waiting for adoption

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The turtle from the association Paysans Terre Mer has to leave the salt flats of La Palme, where it has been tested in extreme conditions and where it has proven itself for two years. It is looking for a new meadow to bloom, on land or water…

When Paysans Terre Mer, led by agronomist François Plassard, responded to a call for expressions of interest in 2017 to submit sustainable solutions to climate change, food and human health, some skeptics smiled. “Floating market gardening turtle with solar stills”, what a funny idea to provide coastal answers to future lack of food autonomy, high cost of arable land, soil salinity, devastating fires…

But after months of calculations, tests, projections, passionate and exciting meetings, the very first TMF was born in rented premises in Prat-de-Cest. Then, in 2020, the juvenile structure was lowered into the water, on the salt flats of La Palme. The idea was to find out if it is possible to grow plants and vegetables without fresh water and in extreme conditions, such as those ponds exposed to all winds and whose salinity is three or even four times higher than that of the sea.

To summarize, the garden turtle is a completely autonomous agricultural production unit. Water is produced by condensation, its circulation is ensured by pumps powered by electricity produced by solar energy, fertilizer is provided by fish (trout, perch or sea bass) in the ponds, fed with lupine, thanks to their excrement. And it works!

The production area ratio is six times larger than that of a classic garden. Fresh water saving is 95%. The working time is divided by three and the comfort is invaluable, because the turtle is worked standing up.

A viable and promising model

Today, François Plassard and the entire mobilized team can rejoice because, against many opinions, they have been able to demonstrate that the model is viable and brings hope at a time when global warming is inexorably accelerating and where the industrial system of food production is regularly challenged.

The AOT (Authority to Occupy Public Domain) granted to the association by the state expired a few weeks ago. Therefore, the turtle must leave the body of water and be adopted elsewhere to serve as an example of a sustainable (and friendly) way of farming. Now that its reliability has been tested in extreme conditions, François Plassard and the association’s secretary Christine Dauzats have good reason to be optimistic about its future and other bigger projects like this “seven-leaf garden turtle flower”. ”, which will be revealed soon.

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