My name is Stéphane Lefebure, I took over the family dairy farm in La Quesne in 1997, preserving the surrounding bocage and changing to organic farming. I have been involved in agriculture since I was a child and have always lived on the family farm, even during my agricultural studies in Rouen. I love good products and it is very important to me to pass on my knowledge and experience. Mindful of ecology and autonomy in my approach to farming, I started cheesemaking in 2010. Clément Gogol is my partner. He's from the city, with a background in production management and an interest in the impact of people's activities on our society. He joined La Quesne in 2017 following a professional transition. He was looking to get back to a smaller scale of food production, with direct sales. I found in him a project manager capable of helping the farm to grow.
I have lived through changes in the profession over the last thirty years, continually adapting the production system to meet expectations, i.e. to reconcile off-farm projects while looking after dairy cows. Over the years, I have been able to devote myself to travelling and getting involved in agricultural and cultural associations (Chair of an association promoting the arts in rural areas, I.CART and former Chair of the Normandy Organic Producers' Network). Clément discovered the world of farm cheesemaking during a work placement in Holland in 2012. Since then, the urge to make cheese has never left him. His studies as an agri-food engineer, followed by various job opportunities, led him to work for industrial units in the agri-food industry as a production manager. Then, one fine day, the urge reappeared. The opportunity to attend a training course about local cheeses in the field, in different workshops (Franche-Comté, Savoie, Italy) to acquire the skills of a master cheesemaker, was the trigger. He is now co-manager of a cooperative of organic producers in Normandy, whose mission is to introduce organic produce to local authorities, such as in schools. His nieces and nephews have the pleasure of being able to taste our cheese in their school canteen, near Rouen!
Today, as native Normans, we are working to combine sustainable development and professional fulfilment within a farming project. Our complementary backgrounds and critical thinking are a source of challenge, geared towards building a resilient system. Passing on our production methods and values is also important. Anecdotally, we met through a cider producer who was taking part in a Christmas Market. Clément was looking for a cheesemaking farm and this producer put him in touch with me, as I was looking for a partner. Nowadays, La Quesne, Farm and Cheesemaker, takes part in the very same Christmas Market where the connection was first made.
Our days on the farm start at 7 am with the team meeting, which allows us to discuss together and deal with urgent matters. Then our daily routine is started by milking, at 7.30 am and 4 pm, each lasting 2.5 hours.
Joining CrowdFarming makes sense for several reasons. Firstly, we believe we share a common ethic based on "producing well" and "eating well". The direct distribution method, straight to the consumer, is in line with our search for a short supply chain. Finally, the platform is an interesting forum for us to express ourselves and to develop the basis of our approach. Together we can advocate for the industry.