PourDemain, tutor for conversion to organic farming

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[EN VIDÉO] Our agriculture will soon be affected by global warming
Some of the effects of global warming are already being felt. Others are yet to come. The yields of certain crops could thus drop tangibly from 2030 under the effect of rising temperatures, variations in precipitation patterns and high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. This is the conclusion of researchers who have worked on the most efficient climate and crop models of the moment. Maize yields, for example, could drop sharply. (in English) © NASA Goddard

The reality of a number depends on how one reads it. According the Organic Agency, while France remains the European leader in organic production ahead of Spain and organic land now represents 10.3% of French agricultural land, the organic share of household food consumption remains stable at 6.6 %. Encouraging but clearly insufficient according to Maxime Durand, co-founder of For tomorrowif we want to be able to have an effect of mass.

Maxime Durand and Stéphane Delebassé, co-founders of PourDemain.  ©ForTomorrow

What is your solution?

Maxime Durand : We are helping farmers convert to organic with an ethical brand that accompanies them and remunerates them during this delicate period. You should know that this process involves at least three years of difficulties and significant financial losses. A fair price is then set with the farmer to take into account the many additional costs linked to his conversion and his products are marketed under the PourDemain brand, formerly BioDemain, in specialized stores and Transition in supermarkets. Three years after our debut on the Lille markets, the first national brand to support organic conversion is now present in more than 2,000 points of sale in France and has already supported 150 producers!

The range of PourDemain products.  © ForTomorrow

Why will your start-up change the world?

Maxime Durand : After experiencing good momentum and an explosion in sales in 2020, the organic market is unfortunately not in great shape. The fault is partly due to the costs which are still too high, especially in times of inflation such as the one we are experiencing. In particular, we must professionalize and consolidate our productions to achieve more affordable prices while continuing to remunerate the sectors fairly.

This is a huge issue on which we need the support citizens. Until we reach volumes to tip the balance in favor of organic, change will be difficult. We must also all become aware of the positive externalities of this type of agriculture, which allows us to reduce diseaseto not deplete the soilto be more resilient to heat waves, to consume less water, etc. They are not currently taken into account by the State in its subsidies… When will there be more direct support for our farmers?

How did the project grow?

Maxime Durand : After our studies at the European Technological Institute for Entrepreneurship and Management (ITEEM) where we met with Stéphane Delebassé, also co-founder, we developed our ecological awareness for two years with experiences in biomaterials, sustainable agriculture, social coaching or, for me, the creation of a subsidiary of a Dutch company specializing in zero solutions waste for festivals. Then, one day, the failure of my Breton farmer great-uncle to convert his production to organic gave us the idea of ​​BioDemain. We joined the incubator Obvious and have benefited from support, such as Eurfood and French nugget for example.

The project was set up gradually, first with three producers, and picked up speed with the contact of a Lille store that wanted to test the marketing of our products. Word of mouth did the rest. We just had a little hiccup at the end of 2021, following a denunciation by a big market player, with the obligation of the DDPP which forced us to change our name because we were apparently not clear enough on the fact that our products were not organic. For a brand whose slogan is This product is not (yet) organicwe have to admit that it’s paradoxical… After a few sleepless nights, we revised our plans a little and changed our name with PourDemain and new ambitions to support sustainable agriculture ever further.

PourDemain is the first national brand to support organic conversion, now present in more than 2,000 points of sale in France and which has already supported 150 producers.  © ForTomorrow

What’s next in the story?

Maxime Durand : Ideally, in five years, I would like PourDemain to become a fine SME that supports a majority of farmers in organic conversion, then in organic fair trade, in permaculture, with purchase-resale solutions, advice and assistance in finding financing. We really want to stay on a human scale. We see ourselves as scouts who open paths in whichother actors more important ones will be able to rush in and energize the approach.

If you were Prime Minister, what flagship measure would you put in place?

Maxime Durand : The first thing: surround myself with competent people (laughs). In fact, more than a measure, it is a long-term vision that I would try to establish. The system only works in spurts depending on crises, whereas we should rather try to think about solutions for the future, invest massively now to reap the benefits ten years later. This is particularly important for theOrganic agriculture. At the same time, we must try to give access to it to as many people as possible, for example by reducing VAT or even a food voucher for the purchase of organic or local products.

What will the world look like in 2050?

Maxime Durand : I am not very optimistic about the medium term, as the necessary and expected change is taking too long to unfold. I am actually more confident for 2100 because we are going to face so much massive damage that the population and the public authorities will have no choice but to radically change of model.

What Futura hot topic excites you?

Maxime Durand : Unrelated to the subject that we have just tackled, and it is moreover this diversity which makes the great strength of Futura: I read the article on calf cramps in running and how to solve them… As a runner, I really appreciated!

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