The Moulin Jobard farm is located on the site of an old mill, away from a small village in the Haute-Marne region of eastern France. It is situated in the "diagonal of the void", characterised by low population density and a marked rural decline. The name of the soap kitchen (Gabras = goat in Celtic and Rosa = rose in Latin) refers to the dual production activity of the farm: the Lorraine goats for the milk and the cultivation of perfume and medicinal plants.
In search of a preserved quality of life and out of a taste for rural way of living, we, Sarah and Dominique, have chosen to settle here. After many years of research, we finally succeeded in buying a farm that suited our life project. A small house, a few dozen hectares of land all around, lots of trees, a river, diverse biotopes and few neighbours: here we are at home!
Farming (management): The farm had been abandoned after a fairly long period of excessive use. We have brought it back to life with a herd of Lorraine goats, perfume and medicinal plants and a horse therapy activity. From the beginning, we set up working methods to restore the balance of the ecosystems: rotational grazing, contour subsoiling, cultivation on living soil...
Several partnerships with wildlife protection associations have enabled us to establish a development program to promote the site's cultivated and wild biodiversity since our arrival in 2016 (ponds, planting of fodder trees, nesting boxes for birds of prey, dry stone walls...).
Water: Water management is a major concern for us, with heavy and poorly distributed rainfalls, and compacted land due to overgrazing. We thus go from waterlogged pastures to a severe water shortage within a few weeks. Therefore we have, among other things, set up a network of storage and infiltration ponds to meet the water needs of our animals and crops, to multiply the habitats for aquatic species and also to slow down the flow of the water heading downstream. We water our scented, drip irrigated plants very little. Mulching, plant cover and protective trees are also used to limit the farm's water needs.
Resources: Our various renovation and construction projects give priority to ecological materials and we make maximum use of reclaimed or farm-produced lumber. A planted greywater system and a wood-fuelled hot water production system (sanitary and heating) complete our approach. The soap factory produces very little waste, most of which is recyclable. Local raw materials are transported in reusable containers.
Employment: Looking for a product that can be marketed beyond the limits of our territory, we decided to produce cosmetics, formulated to favour local and organic sourcing. In this way, our activity, in addition to ensuring the viability of our farm, also allows us to diversify the production and income of neighbouring farms. Our long-term objective is to be able to hire an employee, in addition to an income for both of us.
Beyond Organic Agriculture, we have adopted the principles of Holistic Management and established a plan to optimise the farm's triple bottom line. All our decisions are based on the evaluation of the expected benefits and potential effects on the natural and social environment of the farm, our quality of life and the income generated: ecology, ethics and economy are of equal importance to us.