I grew up in a small mountain village in Corsica. I spent a lot of time playing outside. (Illustration photo)
In 2017, I created MyH@ppyBio, a digital platform dedicated to organic foods and products, with the aim of engaging with consumers and producers in the Netherlands. In addition to the health and environmental benefits, embracing an organic lifestyle is a reflection of a personal journey that I would now like to share.
The idea of doing something positive whilst eating healthily is something close to my heart. Organic living has long been part of my daily routine. Not only do I consume organic products, I advocate and support them. I try to ensure that living an organic lifestyle can develop ethically and become more accessible at local level through the digital organic community that I have created in the Netherlands. My platform brings together like-minded people seeking a healthier and more responsible approach to food, people who sell organic products and those who enjoy their benefits.
When you look back, you get a better sense of perspective. I have come to realize that the lifestyle that I have adopted is the result of a journey. Firstly, it was something that I experienced from back in my childhood. I grew up in a small mountain village in Corsica. I spent a lot of time playing outside with my sister, far from city life. We looked after the goats, the dogs, the cats and insects. We rode on donkeys, we ran among the olive trees, and we picked cherries and almonds. We climbed trees and we played in abandoned huts and houses.
There was a great deal of freedom, and a lot of space for the imagination. I would often accompany my father in the garden, where we planted vegetables before making our own preserves. We were close to the land. That way of life, being as close to nature as possible, set the scene for my future life.
The health benefits of organic products
The health benefits of organic products were what first attracted me to them. Those health benefits are in fact one of the main reasons that the French and the southern Europeans have adopted them in their cuisine. Several members of my family have suffered from cancer over the years. My father died of it when I was a child. We later became aware that the women in my family were affected by a genetic mutation that causes breast cancer, which claimed the life of one of my aunts. We decided to have as healthy a diet as possible. Fewer pesticides, fewer heavy metals, more polyphenols and more antioxidants. We now know that an organic lifestyle reduces the risk of cancer by 25%.
My stepfather, who worked as a sales manager for the firm Bjorg, also had a revelatory role to play. For example, he introduced us to almond milk and ass’s milk, and to soya-based yoghourts. At the exhibitions where we went to look for new products, we wondered if a product would succeed and how we might develop it from a marketing perspective. We were looking for the ideal product. I still get a real sense of enjoyment from finding the right product, one that is marketable and viable, and whose production will not harm the planet.
Supporting country life and small producers
A brief experience in a fast food outlet strengthened my convictions, as I came to discover what Jean-Pierre Coffe and others were the first to denounce as junk food. With industrial-scale food production, I also discovered a significant and wearing professional context: social pressure and stress.
It is important for me to lead a more harmonious lifestyle by supporting country life and small producers, thereby reducing intermediaries. My platform makes it possible to find the nearest producer to you via geo-location. Animal welfare is also a big factor. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I am opposed to battery farming.
A further argument in favour of organic farming methods is their positive impact on the environment: caring for the soil, for the water, for natural resources and biodiversity. Thinking about what we put on our plates means caring about the planet. Following the seasons, reducing your carbon footprint and consuming local products, rejecting glyphosate.
Always been a fervent believer in ecology
I have always been a fervent believer in ecology. At college I was involved in a number of projects associated with the environment. During my studies at the IUT, I devoted my first year to organic products, which at the time were in their infancy. I called the Chamber of Agriculture to find out more about certification and to enquire as to how you go about becoming an organic farmer. Organic produce was a real innovation at that time.
People say that environmental concerns are the primary reason that northern countries have been drawn towards organic products and production methods. Living abroad in the Netherlands is not unrelated to my decision to devote my professional life here to this cause, and why I am preparing to launch my new platform and develop the digital community in order to make us more responsible in what we consume.
There is an urgent need for action for the sake of tomorrow’s world. Ecological progress will result from the sum of the actions that each of us take, and from a genuine investment in sustainable businesses and brands. We have to make this move now, for our children’s sake.
An organic lifestyle makes me happy because it is in sync with my beliefs and my lifestyle. It is for the good of all that surrounds it.