"Recovery" drinkers shelter some catfish, in water kept at temperature thanks to a jacuzzi motor. Pallet wood supports trays of peas, artichokes and edible flowers. Supported by his wife, Amélie, a graduate of the horticultural school of Orléans, Nicolas Baptiste plans to open at the end of the year the Ferme du petit-caillou in Châtillon-Coligny (Loiret), a “pro” version of his tinkered aquaponic farm prototype.
"It was time for me to return to what I really love, working the land," explains this son and grandson of farmers, a former electronics technician, who then became a storekeeper in an agricultural cooperative. He set his sights on a new technique: aquaponics, which consists of growing plants using fish droppings.
"Restaurateurs are in demand," he says. It is guaranteed without chemicals, because the slightest contribution would kill the fish, ”says Nicolas, who trained with the pioneer of this market gardening, De l'eau à la bouche, near Bordeaux.
For him, the other advantage is to be seen in terms of water management. “Climatic variations cause more frequent droughts. However, this method of cultivation is more economical in water, ”guarantees the neo-market gardener, who has been working on this project for two years.
Goldfish to start
To set up this farm, Amélie and Nicolas Baptiste count on a budget of 400,000 euros. They spend their savings on it and complete crowdfunding on the miimosa.com site, which will bring them more than 2,000 euros. Banks are expected to complete the financing.
"The health crisis made us a little late, I hope to open in the last quarter for the sowing period," said Nicolas Baptiste, who has already found the premises and the plot of 1200 square meters. At first, he plans to buy cheaper and more robust goldfish, before switching to the fish version, with carp and trout.