Demain la Terre: “Agriculture must meet the challenges of sustainable development”

According to the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the agricultural sector is responsible for 23% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. At the same time, the world’s population should reach 8 billion people by November 15, according to a UN projection. So how can we meet the challenges of sustainable development and growing food needs? For Marc De Nale, General Director of the association Tomorrow the earthpart of the solution lies in farmers’ ability to meet the challenges of sustainable development. That is why the Demain la Terre label was created, a third way at the crossroads between different production methods (conventional/reasoned, organic). To speak.

When we talk about agriculture, we very often have the image of difficult, polluting and low-paying jobs. However, the agricultural professions are passions that involve: the earth and the living. So who is better placed to respond to today’s challenges than men and women who practice their profession as close as possible to nature and people? With Demain la Terre we believe thatagriculture must meet the challenges of sustainable development because it must play a crucial role in the face of demographic and climatic challenges. They are the first to suffer… Who does not remember the hailstorms that hit the orchards of the Drôme in June 2019? Of the April 2021 cold spell that condemned the crops of farmers in the west and north of France?

Photo: © Tomorrow the Earth

To meet the challenges of today and tomorrow

To meet these challenges, farmers need to rethink their production methods, be it the use of phytosanitary products, tillage or the organization of production. They must be able to produce on their scale, on the scale of France, and meet both the demographic issues and to climate problems. This requires that the agricultural world and the consumer world talk to each other; with which farmers are better connected consumer needs and that consumers are more sensitive to the reality and complexity of agricultural and food production. You should not look for someone responsible at all costs… There have been years when we have had fewer melons because of the climate or because of a disease that has destroyed the crops… There is no point in wanting your melons in Spain you should eat what our producers have on the shelves. It’s the best way to support sustainable agriculture and this is what the Demain la Terre label allows.

Initially it was more of an exchange club between producers than strictly speaking a label. They felt the need to discuss their practices, to think about how consider sustainability issues in their business and what they could do at their scale for future generations. We live in 2004 and at that time the concept of sustainable development was almost equated with the environmental dimension. A few years later, they wanted to experiment with a number of things on their farm, share their findings and measure their progress. Doing this required a framework that was rigorous, demanding and reliable to progressively achieve their goals and provide consumers healthier, safer and more accessible fruits and vegetables. Thus, in 2010, the Demain la Terre label was born, after three years of research, testing and development.

Photo: Shutterstock

A third way between conventional farming and rational farming

With a repository built around 10 environmental and social themes and 70 precise, objective and measurable criteria, Demain la Terre brings together companies of all sizes that want to think, experiment and develop a more responsible agriculture. Agroecology, permaculture, conventional agriculture, biodynamics, organic, natural, regenerative, conservation agriculture or even urban agriculture, the idea is not to prefer a model, but agricultural models that take into account in a much clearer, more concrete and above all effective way of the challenges of sustainable development in agricultural and agri-food production. We want to evolve into a sector that reconciles the three challenges of sustainable development, namely the environment, the economy and social issues, with a common goal: to increase its impact.

Photo: © Tomorrow the Earth

However, we do not discriminate against any production method. What interests us is the progress path our farmers are part of, the degree of sustainability implemented within their farms and the ambitious goals we can set with them to improve their impact. Whether organic farming, soil conservation farming or any other form of production, to obtain the Demain la Terre label, the objectives are the same:

  • Reduce the use of pesticides and remove all traces of residue
  • Conserving Water Resources
  • Maintain soil quality
  • Protecting biodiversity and natural ecosystems
  • Reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reducing and recovering waste and limiting plastic consumption
  • Fostering a sustainable economic relationship with stakeholders
  • Developing a more humane business and society
  • Require the best raw materials for processed products
  • Implement responsible recipes and processes

Audited by an independent body and with a commitment to continuous improvementit is one of the most comprehensive on all dimensions of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR) according to the latest study of the Interprofessional Technical Center for Fruits and Vegetables (CTIFL) in 2018. Today the association has 24 member companies, 450 producers of fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, committed to a responsible agricultural approach. Our approach is not perfect and it is not intended to be. On the contrary, it is constantly questioned, depending on the results of course and the evolution of the problems. Because if agriculture is one of the causes of climate change, there is also part of the solution.

By Marc De Nale, Managing Director of Demain la Terre

Want to adopt healthy and quality food while you support more sustainable agriculture ? Visit the association’s website Tomorrow the earth and discover a label that meets the challenges of today and tomorrow !

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