Pierre Rabhi – It is the time you spend on your rose that makes your rose so important

Its time to begin the series of article upon inspiring people. Those people who reminds us that human being is good, is kind and carry the answer to all its problems. I would like to began here with the example of Pierre Rabhi. So let’s go !


His life

In interviews, books or talks, Pierre Rabhi likes to lean on its life to explain his point of view and actions. Thus, the following paragraph those not constitute an exclusivity,  but we feel it may be useful for the reader.

Pierre Rhabi was born in Algeria, his father is a blacksmith and a poet. He is poor and ask a couple of French people to take care of the little Pierre. The boy choose to adopt christianisme before he leave all kind of religion, after a fight with his father on that topic.

In the 50’s, he arrives in France and find a job as a specialized worker in a Parisian factory. There he meets Michele, the woman he will share its life with. After some time, the couple decide to abandon a life of exploitation without perspective to a move Rabhi call « back to the land », that is the root of its whole thoughts and work. They borrow some money to buy a piece of land in the french region of Ardèche. Thanks to years of work, the arid and stony soil becomes generous.

Since the 60’s, Pierre Rabhi cultivate its land and develop techniques of agroeocology and biodynamic. He shares its knowledges and discovery in workshops, through conferences, in books and thanks to international development missions.

To learn more about Rabhi’s life, you can read Vers la Sobriété heureuse, go on Rabhi website  or listen to some emission, or read the translation of its talk in the TEDX in Paris.


Some ideas we took on : 

-ressources of earth are not unlimited, since earth has, in itself, limits (1), now the ressources of earth are the first and most important source of economic development (2), thus, our economy must be limited by the limited ressources of earth. That is the reason why  pretending to seek to an unlimited growth, as most of the country in the world does, is a dangerous lie and misunderstanding of the problem, unless we planned to colonize some new planets in a short term. In other word, its time to calm down, reconsider the situation and think about degrowth…

-The most valuable good we own, as human, is earth, that provides us everything we need to be happy (food, water, other humans). But, we constantly hurt her. It would be nice considering stoping constant assault, with chemicals especially. We not solely produce tons of waste, among them nuclear waste, pollute the oceans and depopulate them (that’s already something you would tell me), but even the soil that are today « productive » are so only because we add to them chemicals. Doing so, we push them to the limit, we tire  them and make them possibly unusable for the coming generations.  (article on the link of flood and agriculture, that give idea of the denaturation of soil by agriculture, see here : http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/11/96/2007/hess-11-96-2007.pdf)

Now i see all the skeptic coming and arguing: « Yes my dear, but thanks to all that chemicals, we will soon be able to brings food to every human on the planet. Isn’t that truly awesome ? Thanks to Monsanto-Bayer ! » (actually, we are already producing enough food for all the planet, but we spoil the half because of bad stock management …).

And at that point I have to answer you, you are right, but what we are producing is less good on a nutritional point of view, and some time even harmful for the health. About the lost of nutriment in the vegetable and fruit, see this study, among others.

-There is an alternative option for this intensive agriculture that is harmful for both earth and humans: agroecology. It consists in a set of techniques that we may qualified as « natural » and that aims at fructifying the earth by respecting it, helped by patience rather than chemical. This science conceive working the soil as a practice that should respect and perceive the environment as a whole, and integer to it the human factor. More detail about it may be find here.


To conclude:

-to dedicate time to things that are important and precious (earth’s health, our health, ourselves), is the only manner to live a good life, in an approach that allies self-happiness and other-respect, as well as other-happiness and self-respect.

Pierre Rabhi’s engagement 

It takes multiple forms. Pierre Rabhi wrote numerous books and participate to various films about being-human, agriculture, politic that you may find here.

He militates for the food sovereignty and a local production of edible goods. He participated to various exchange with South country, especially in Africa, to help the paysans develop agroecology, a techniques that is suitable for those region and will free the people towards multinational firms and exportation logiques and coercition. (more info about agroecology in Africa can be found here.

Pierre Rabhi founded multiple associations, including the Colibri, that helps citizen to retake possession of their territories through ecological and anti-globalist initiatives (school with cooperative pedagogy, urban farm, local money among others). To know more about it, you can visit the website (in french).