Episode II.1 – Terrou – 6.11.2017
Location: Terrou (Figeac area), France
Hosts and organizers: UNMFREO (Union National de Maisons Familiales Rurales), Sol et Civilisation
Participants (organisations): UNMFFREO (France), FD MFR Reunion (France), IFOCAP (France), Sol et Civilisation (France), OFFA (Belgium), Verkmenntaskoli – VMA (Iceland), GAL Napoca Porolissum (Romania), Vivasol (Lithuania), FE3 (France), MFR Bosnia (Bosnia), MFR Auvergne-Rhone Alpes (France), MFR Midi-Pyrenees (France)
The session in France was very different from the one we had in Belgium, as it’s role was that of a training for participants. This means that we would be having a mix of office training sessions and field visits for us to better understand some of the concepts we were debating.
We started in Terrou, a very small village in the area of Figeac – not more than 200 inhabitants. While the community is very small, there is an MFR in Terrou that has focused on teaching all activities connected with horses, from veterinary medicine to jockeying and horse training. It is an all-equestrian school, famous all over France and beyond. Some students come from Spain, Portugal or even Morocco. If you are not familiar with the French system of alternance for vocational schools, we should note that the students of the MFR alternate theoretical classes with practical hands-on professional practice (in companies or farms). In this case, once every few weeks they spend a week training in Terrou, at the equestrian school.
MFR Terrou is a result of the locals’ passion for horses. It is a place where people come with pleasure and study with passion. It is also an example of how a community can define itself through an activity.
In addition to the visit to MFR Terrou, on the first day of our training, we had a collective reflection around the words “development” and “territory” as well as the stabilization of the lexicon shared by the group, with a very interesting storyline developed by Rene Caspar, of Sol et Civilisation, who explained how the notions of territory can mean very different things to different people. Also, some experiences from the OFFA visit in Belgium were shared by the group.