In Haute Provence, the cultivation of Einkorn (a species of wheat) had almost disappeared due to the standardisation of agricultural produce. With the support of Slow Food, farmers have been able to continue growing this cereal, and market it.
Aimé Faucou lives in Vachères in the Haute Provence region of the Alps, where her grandfather cultivated Einkorn for her personal consumption. Nearby, Etienne Mabille also grew it in La Drôme. Both are organic farmers and are passionate about Einkorn. This cereal is well adapted to hot and dry climates, as well as stony soil. Although wheat production superseded that of Einkorn from the Roman era onwards, Einkorn cultivation nevertheless survived in the high regions of Haute Provence.
In 1997, along with other local producers, the two farmers came together to found the Haute Provence Einkorn Association to promote the cereal. At the time they faced many problems: it was difficult to sell, cultivation had almost ceased in the region, it was confused with spelt wheat, and local consumers barely knew, if they knew at all, about Einkorn. 8 years later Einkorn was entered in the ‘Slow Food Ark of Taste’, which acknowledged the expertise of the producers and the quality of flavour of Einkorn. Aimé Faucou and Etienne Mabille, who spend most of their time in the countryside, had little time to advertise their product. Slow Food ensured the promotion of Einkorn, presenting it at tasting and discovery days.
The action taken by Slow Food has allowed the distribution of Einkorn to spread to a national level and has increased sales. The local farmers are pleased with the experience: “Thanks to Slow Food, Haute Provence Einkorn and other forgotten products of agricultural biodiversity have been brought back to life”.