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Change your life to change your job: a case study among North-European migrant farmers in the Dordogne District (South Western France)

Abstract : If previous studies underlined the role of the “rural idyll” to make the decision to emigrate towards isolated rural areas (Lord, 2008), especially among retired people, we would like to highlight a new category of North-European migrants who settle in the Southwestern French countrysides: migrants who come to France to set up in farming. We will question the process of foothold by and in agricultural activities, and more widely in rural areas. Our proposal is based on in-depth interviews with 16 North-European new farmers who set up in the Périgord District. We completed this material with interviews among agricultural organizations and with a statistical analyse of the rural demographical dynamics, in order to better understand the role that migrants play in more general demographical and agricultural trends. Studying this figure of new non-traditional farmers coming from North Europe allows us to highlight a new pattern of lifestyle migration that meets economic migration in a changing environmental context. We will focus on 3 points: (1) motivations to migrate to the French countrysides: the migration allows the new farmers to achieve a professional project as well as to start a new life. The characteristics of the Périgord District finally meet the migrants’ aspirations. (2) North-European farmers bring innovations in the local farming systems. They are key players of the development of sustainable farming systems. They practice organic farming and develop direct local food chains and on-farm diversification. They also contribute to maintain agricultural systems facing crisis (the dairy sector) and, moreover, to create new gardening systems. (3) Finally, those new farmers contribute to demographic and residential dynamics in the Périgord. This raises the issue of hosting policies and initiatives to help them to set in farming. We will show that to set in farming relies more on local professional networks than on foreign community networks.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 11:36:56 AM
Last modification on : Friday, May 6, 2022 - 12:36:01 PM


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Camille Hochedez, Pierre Pistre. Change your life to change your job: a case study among North-European migrant farmers in the Dordogne District (South Western France). Lifestyle migration Hub, Nov 2019, Umea, Sweden. ⟨halshs-02534797⟩



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