David Servan-Schreiber says Pierre Rabhi is a humble man who deserves praise for his environmental approach.
David Servan-Schreiber | Jan/Feb 2009 issue
Pierre Rabhi is a small, modest-looking man whose stature reflects neither the breadth of his thoughts nor the power of his character. At age 20, he moved from Algeria to France, where he took over a rocky farm in the Ardèche region that no one wanted. In just a few years, he turned this inhospitable land into an oasis of green. Since then, he has trained thousands of rural people, rich and poor, from Central Africa, the Maghreb and Eastern Europe, to cultivate difficult soil without using the fertilizers or pesticides that are often beyond their budgets. He teaches them to operate independently of economic forces and Western agricultural engineers who discourage them from doing it without chemicals. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN in 2002 and 2007, respectively published reports concluding that organic farming could meet the planet’s food needs and contribute to resolving the world’s hunger problem, and that this could be accomplished with a great deal more respect for the environment, and adapted to the conditions of each population. Pierre Rabhi knew this all along.