Aude: "Agro-ecology must succeed in producing results"explains Roland Feuillas, the baker of Cucugnan

Last May, students from AgroTech Paris called on their classmates to “desert” by declaring that “industry is waging a war on living beings”… Our prefabricated food would generate cancers, the gluten contained in cereals is less digestible , pesticides are more and more vigorously criticized. In the Aude, a baker leads his own resistance with a “more than organic wheat”. A wheat before industry.

“I started in 2000. What fascinated me were the responsibilities of the great master builders, those who designed cathedrals, who coordinated huge constructions in total harmony, whereas today there is no longer this notion of “work” in what we do”. From the top of his bakery in Cucugnan, lost in the Aude Corbières, Roland Feuillas shapes his Christmas ark from healthy food, and what could be more symbolic than building on bread.

“Homer was already saying that there were the eaters of bread, the civilized men of the Mediterranean basin, and then the others, the barbarians. Would there still be this dichotomy today? Today there are the eaters of real bread, from the product of water, salt, wheat and a natural leaven. This is all the magic of real bread” explains Roland Feuillas, business owner but philosopher. In his bread school below the Cucugnan mill, Roland Feuillas and his team train 120 individuals and 40 bakers each year in this ancestral art of bread making. Every week Les Maîtres de mon moulin send bread to the four corners of France, “it is indeed about short circuits because no more than two intermediaries from the ground to the mouth: producer and transformer”displaying a carbon footprint close to zero: “we plant trees, permanent cover so continuous photosynthesis, we store carbon, in terms of agricultural machinery we are 40% of our colleagues in conventional, the courses of fertilizers and pesticides do not concern us, we don’t ‘have none’. Their wheat fields are unrecognizable, nothing to do with the dull and monotonous fields of modern wheat in intensive monoculture. These are green and flowery, wild, you can barely recognize the ears that will make the bread. “Our wheat never grows alone, there are always associated crops (polyculture) of alfalfa, legumes, protein crops, and we harvest all of them of course.” he specifies.

An ancient wheat produced by around thirty farmers in France

Downstream, three millers “ultra-artisanal” associates produce flour – using a stone grinder – for around a hundred bakers in France (100% Nature brand). A thousand hectares worked by around thirty farmers in France, accompanied by Feuillas and his team, are the basis of this production, which is completely out of step with the modesty of the bakery, however attractive it may be by its perfume, its clouds of flour floating in the still hot dry air of the oven.

Roland Feuillas and his unique bakery in Cucugnan in Aude
Independent – CHRISTOPHE BARREAU

“In France, bread is most often obtained with industrial yeast. It causes digestive difficulties, has nutritional deficiencies and no longer provides important elements for human nutrition. That’s why I say that with decultured food, we inevitably deculture people.While bread must be the result of a symbiosis with lactic acid bacteria, the first living organism in our biosphere, which brings about the maturation that offers us cheese, wine, meat (unfermented meat is flesh), cured meats… bread. This bacterium makes food more digestible, it is at the origin of our civilisation.”

The total work

The patriarch with the eternal felt hat screwed on his head is ready to cast off, swapping Mount Arrarat for his elder brother for Mount Tauch, as the deluge of climate, economic and health disruption approaches. He masters everything, from the seed of old wheat, multiplied and cultivated almost everywhere in France, including in the department of Aude, to the finished bread, shipped or sold over the counter to our stomachs. “Neither peasant nor baker” Roland Feuillas sees himself as a simple but true master builder.

“Agro-ecology must be able to produce economic and financial results, that these activities are fully inscribed in the social pyramid. This level of maturity must arrive, and we, who have entered in 20 years in the demonstration of the feasibility of this model, we know that it is possible, with in addition a product that is good for the earth and those who ingest it.We practice regenerative agriculture, air, water, land, biomass, people. Nothing must be done to the detriment of one for the benefit of the other.”

He hands us a slice of bread in exchange for a discussion about the digestibility of gluten, to which more and more people are or think they are intolerant. “Here is ancient wheat bread, try this, cut into thick slices, first in the middle, then the slice on the edge, and you will tell me”.

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Aude: in Cucugnan, the Jurassic park of old wheat, resistant and digestible, away from agro-industry

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