Let me say from the start, that today’s posting is neither going to be based on scientific analysis nor on preference for one production system over another.

I recently visited a fairly upbeat French trade show, and there was good humor and cheer all round (apart from the protestors – remember, I was in France!).

What struck me above all in the happiness stakes, however, was the bonhomie among the assembled organic producers.

Happy meat and happy chicken are terms often used in the UK and perhaps in other English-speaking countries for free-range and organic production, but here were a lot of happy producers. Perhaps it was simply that they found themselves all assembled under one roof, or were long-lost friends reveling in the opportunity to get together in the warm Brittany weather. Or perhaps it was confidence in what they were doing and satisfaction in how they lead their lives.

Going the extra mile 

Organic poultry and egg production is growing strongly in France, yet this type of farming never seems like an easy option to me. It requires producers to go the extra mile to produce something that they believe is better and that they be confident in the future, and not strive simply to produce as cheaply as possible, here and now. Organic production, at first glance, seems to go against the belief that consumers will always buy the most competitively priced product, and that successful producers will always be those that constantly strive to be as efficient as possible, i.e. reducing effort and cost.

I also think that organic production requires a certain amount of courage and initiative, and that the rewards can be long in coming, but that going the extra mile eventually pays off. Looking at the growth in the French organic sector, this would appear to be the case for those niche producers as they respond to growing consumer demand. Going the extra mile can indeed pay dividends in all walks of life. The rewards may not always be obvious or immediate, but hopefully they come in the end.

To watch an interview with a happy organic egg producer see: Why produce organic eggs?