Growing strawberries and raspberries from the 50’s to the 80’s was an important source of extra revenue for many families. Today these crops have largely disappeared.
Aromatic and medicinal plants, mostly used for infusions and sweets, are a new way to supplement incomes. Cattle and sheep breeding hold pride of place in the local agricultural economy. Despite the lie of the land and the peculiar distribution of land ownership, numerous farmers mow the fields and pasture their livestock right up to the limits of the forests and the glaciers.
Three successive land ownership reorganisations have allowed the construction of access roads and irrigation facilities which have helped the mechanisation using machines developed especially for the Alps. The high price of these machines is a heavy drain on the farmers’ finances.
Grouped together in “consortages” (a form of cooperative) for dairies and the high summer pastures and “syndicats” (a farmers union) for livestock, the farmers endeavour by their labours and their know how, to make the countryside naturally attractive.
Used sensibly, following the seasons, the agricultural heritage offers residents and tourists a vast green area in which to enjoy life.
Helped, it is true, by appropriate and well targeted subsidies, they bring healthy high quality food to our tables.
photo : Pierre Pouget