Pétanielle is a French association located around Toulouse that brings together gardeners and farmers around “old” wheat. Its origin dates back to 2009. Following a symposium on GMOs and biodiversity, gardeners and farmers meet in an informal network. Their common desire is to promote conservation and develop bread-making cereals. In 2011 this network became formalized and became Pétanielle (in reference to the Nice buckwheat variety). Currently the association has about 150 gardeners and 30 farmers. Together, they manage a collection of 80-90 varieties of wheat.
The common objective of all parties is to provide access to an alternative to commercial agro-industrial seeds “to enable farmers to regain their autonomy and enable everyone to have access to quality products while reducing the constraints on our environment.”
The link between professionals (farmers) and amateurs (gardeners) is fundamental in the approach and the way the association operates. This brings producers and consumers closer together by giving gardeners an active role.
After a two-years period with an employee, the association decided to return to a mode of functioning totally based on volunteering. What is fundamental for them is to be a group of citizens who share and manage a common resource.
Pétanielle is developing four actions that, together, allow the redeployment of “peasant seeds”: safeguarding, conservation, pre-multiplication and multiplication. The work is divided between gardeners and farmers.
The association occasionally obtains new varieties from other farmers as well as from the Biological Resources Centre for Cereals with straw (INRA de Clermont-Ferrand).