Enjoying the Organic Fair in Embrun - Foire Bio Genepi - Haute Alps

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Friday 25 September 2015

Enjoying the Organic Fair in Embrun - Foire Bio Genepi - Haute Alps

Having stayed for some time on an organic farm in Guillestre we had been excited to find out about a nearby annual fair in the town of Embrun taking place over 2 days in mid-September. This years 'Foire Bio' was the 10th edition and was named 'Climat'titude' to reflect that the theme of this years fair, alongside organic produce, was also in raising awareness of climate change and initiatives to reduce human impact and improve sustainable living, including agriculture and housing too. With plenty of stalls to browse, exhibits and presentations plus lots of things to get involved in the Foire Bio was a really fantastic and thought provoking day out.

Taking place the day after we arrived back on the farm after our active week in Briancon we arrived at the fair early with our hosts from the farm who were also putting up a stand to raise awareness about biodiversity in organic agriculture, and we were pleased to be able to help a little in setting up the stand before heading off ourselves to explore.

Our day started, quite excitingly, with a horse and cart ride around the fair itself and along the lake in Embrun which was very pretty in the morning sun and also gave us a good sense of the area before we began exploring on foot.

The fair was incredibly diverse and we soon realised that the stalls and exhibitors were in two types: (1) local farmers and artisan producers selling local products or raising awareness on local issues and (2) producers, charities and workshops from further afield who travelled with the 'Foire' as it moved through France throughout the summer.

Food-wise there was plenty on offer with everything from nuts, oils, breads, cakes, fresh fruits and vegetables, jams, honey, raw cocoa beans....even locally produce Spirulina plus a range of hot food and fresh snacks that got our digestive juices flowing. In fact, even though we only ate out once the entire time we were away last year some of the vegan carrot cake and indian hot food on offer even enticed us to make an exception and enjoy some ourselves, which was very tasty.

Alongside the food there were also clothes stalls and other health aids, such as a corrective type of spectacles we'd never seen before, and we had a lot of fun just chatting to people running the different stalls, practicing our French, and just generally enjoying speaking to interesting people passionate about their work.

In another section of the fair was an area devoted completely to sustainable and low cost building projects in poor communities around the world which showed us some really innovative designs. We were especially interested in the solar ovens and solar dehydrators as well as we'd like to try making our own one day.

There was also an area entirely focused on health with lots of book stalls and various relaxation therapies you could sign up for a session with, such as reflexology and head massage. The only part of the day we hadn't been able to take part in was the regular presentations on different local, national and global issues as our French just wasn't good enough to follow them unfortunately.

The fair was pretty packed throughout the day and with lots of fun things to do alongside the stalls and exhibits, such as a the horse and cart, bike powered smoothie maker and a children's ride powered entirely by one lady pedalling while she sang and played guitar, the time just seemed to fly by and before we knew it we'd been there the entire day. Then as the sun began to set live music groups began to play as people settled down for an evening meal. It really was a great atmosphere with lots of interested and like minded people coming together to raise awareness of issues we cared about and were interested in ourselves.

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