Horses, dogs, chicks and now pigs coexist on the grounds of the house of Edwige Fontaine and her family. At the age of 50, in 2021 she started raising Mangalica breed woolly pigs. “I always wanted to be a farmer,” confides the administrative assistant in a village club in Lavandou.
“It’s the confinement effect”, she says. His aunt, a goat breeder in the Drôme, passed on to him the taste for breeding. “But at the time, agriculture was poorly perceived and you had to be a farmer’s child to go to school”. She therefore turned to administrative jobs, while keeping her childhood dream in the back of her mind. The confinement and the desire to return to simple things pushed her to take the plunge. One morning, contemplating the forest surrounding her house, she thought that this space would be perfect for pigs…
“A rare and sought-after breed”
While documenting the existing breeds, Edwige was seduced by the Mangalica, a breed from Hungary, living only in the open air and whose “Red meat, oily and marbled, is rare and sought after”.
To train, she relied on the advice of a breeder located in the Vaucluse, who sold her his first animals, and the Mangalica France association. “We are only about twenty to breed this breed in France. And in the Var, I am the only one”.
Edwige’s farm now has twenty-three animals for fattening, including thirteen piglets. Her first pigs will be ready for slaughter in 2023. She then plans to set up a processing workshop and sell her production in local markets and restaurants. “Only the slaughter is done outside and as there is not yet a slaughterhouse in the Var, you have to go to Digne or in the Vaucluse. This has a cost that will have to be passed on to the prices of the products. .”
The breeder is very attached to animal welfare. His animals evolve in the open air, have an entire forest to frolic in, and can take advantage of mud baths to hydrate themselves (thanks to the recycling of water from the horses).
Concerned about preserving the environment, Edwige is a fan of the circular economy.
To supplement pig feed, it collects unsold fruit and vegetables from supermarkets or market gardeners.
A profession of passion
The farmer has kept her full-time job but intends to devote herself entirely to her new activity, as soon as she generates enough income. To complete her training, she hopes to integrate a delicatessen and caterer CAP next September, if she obtains the agreement of her employer.
Among the pigs, the breeder seems in her element.
“It’s a profession of passion. I like taking care of animals. I found what I really wanted to do.”
A kitty to support the project
Edwige Fontaine has launched an online kitty to finance part of her activity. The Mangalica breed requires two years of fattening before slaughter, which deprives it of income while many expenses must be incurred. We must first finance their food, based on barley. ” Its price has skyrocketed since the war in Ukraine. It went from eight to ten euros per kilo”. The regulations also require the installation of electric fences to protect the farm from swine fever, transmitted by wild boars.
A donation for a sausage
It must also install a sump pump because ” pigs must always have water ».
Participation in the kitty entitles you to a consideration. For example, for a payment of twenty-five euros, the contributor will receive two sausages and the rewards increase according to the value of the donation. “It’s a kind of cash advance that we ask our future customers, even if the amount is greater than the value of the product,” explains Edwige. It is also a way of supporting the farmer and the promise of soon being able to buy “quality meat, raised in excellent conditions and produced entirely locally”.
Later, the breeder plans to take out a loan to finance her future processing workshop. In the meantime, she hopes that the kitty (today at more than 4,600 euros) reaches 6,000 euros, so that it is maintained. Thus, the Carnoulaise will be able to carry out its project of a breeding that respects animals and consumers.
Online crowdfunding until April 27: https://miimosa.com/fr/projects/pour-que-vive-et-se-developpe-le-porc-serein#articles