In a vibrating noise, the Ford Transit Courier vintage 1992, the floor strewn with twigs and dried leaves, engages on a boulevard of 10e arrondissement of Marseille. At the wheel, Camille Gasnier agrees with Caroline Decque on the “spots” to cover in the cool this morning, while scanning the flora at every street corner, at the foot of a building or on the central plaza of a roundabout.
“The wild picking of edible flowers and plants owes more to the safari than to wandering with a wet finger of the beautiful fields”, warns Caroline, on the war footing in her red dress with white polka dots. We will make five stops that day, including three on wild land, near roads and car parks, between the districts of Luminy and Goudes, a stone’s throw from the Calanques National Park. “You go from a rural aisle to an urban wasteland, it is a work of goldsmith to operate at a sustained pace”, continues the founder of Bigoud ‘, an association specialized in the production in natural agriculture and in the picking of edible wild flowers and plants.
“The garden was not my drug at all”, Caroline said. Until she did a civic service at Emmaüs focused on the maintenance of a vegetable garden. Originally from the peninsula of Giens, studies of oceanography left in the dark, she multiplies odd jobs in the kitchen before creating Bigoud ‘, in 2015, a nod to her curly blondes that she takes from her maternal line. Brest and the English homophone “Be good”. Camille, an Angevin brunette, studied fine arts in Toulouse before making a radical shift with a CAP in alternating cooking. She officiates in a semi-gastronomic then joined the Belgian ranks of the Mouvement d’action paysanne, where she acquired a solid background in agriculture and wild plants that she brought to Marseille in 2017.
Rise of locavore
In their early days, the two “Pickers” are active in several shared intramural gardens. Driven by the boom in locavore, they sell their first tomatoes, mesclun and aromatics that Caroline delivers by electric cargo bike to a handful of restaurateurs. They also organize convivial and intergenerational meetings on their land, mixing hoes and casseroles.
“Getting out of our piece of land to gather wild in urban and peri-urban spaces was born out of a combination of circumstances, remembers Caroline. We had little plants and flowers growing between our cultivated rows. Camille had learned from Belgian peasants to identify those which are consumable. We embellished the lunchtime salads that we shared with our civic services, interns and volunteers. Running out of mesclun in the garden, we offered these savages to the chefs. And they absolutely loved it! ”
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