While visiting some friends in a collective of artists, we went to a little slightly alternative bar along the river, and the owner lady told us about a festival happening soon and nearby. We had no further interesting places in mind after this place and thought it would be a great opportunity to meet many other interesting people. So we went to the beach for a few days, visited some friends, and when the time had come, we then drove back north to Florac, for 7 days of festival to bath ourselves in nothing less than another paradigm.
Nature & Progres
& the next day:
Welcome to Nature & progres festival! Here, food, drinks and services are available for a "concious price" of your choice, everyone is dressed (or not dressed) in his own style and bare feet are the golden rule, there are wood stoves cooking and heating water in self-service kitchen everywhere. The place is run by no one in particular, but by everyone. There are workshops organised by whoever has something to share and is willing to share it out of his own initiative. As you would expect, the festival is free to attend and you are welcome to join in anything you feel like such as cooking, chopping wood, starting fires, organising the food supply, giving a workshop, etc. It's rather a participative system that offers you the opportunity to be active and involved if you feel like it, or to remain a passive consumer if that's more like you... again, there are no obligations here.
Everything feels quite different, a world in within the world. It took us a couple of days to get accustomed to the atmosphere. The conscious "free" price thing going on everywhere is dazzling: you are supposed to know what it costs to produce that glass of beer, that meal, etc. and there has been recurring group discussions that mentioned problems about people not giving enough to cover up the expenses. I reckon a cost price would be best given to people as well as an expected price as to help be aknowledgeable and aware in our decision as with how much we want to contribute.
There are some interesting things going on: an old fellow is talking about the Universal Allocation System (Basic Income) that could radically transform our economy and ways of life, to a group of people surrounding him, all sitting in the grass. Someone is talking about "flash villages" being built with woven branches and living trees in a very short time. A young man is explaining how he adapted his van to run on alcohol. And in the meantime, some walk on slacklines, do some Reiki, have a sauna in a caravan, watch a documentary or build a sailing cart out of old tractor air chambers.
I finally dared pull my recording devices out, the Canon 550D geared with a Rhodes microphone both mounted on a shoulder rest, looking a little showy, and started recording here and there. It's fun, I always liked making movies and doing the editing. I have done it since I was 18. This time, it's slightly upgraded to whatever I ever did before, it's not just my little hand camera, I've got better gears! People must have thought the same, because fast enough, a man jumped in front of me: he was keen to speak up for the event as if I was going to shoot him on TV :) I guess, that's what you get with a camera looking like you are a professional to the unfamiliar eye...really, it's not that impressive the gears!
Now, because I was myself a little confused after he explained to me what Nature & Progres was all about, here is a little summary:
Nature & Progres is a label of organic agriculture that gathers producers and processors as well as consumers around a rather strict chart to respect. The label is based on the participation of comon mortals and thus on transparency. It has been put into place by people themselves in 1964.
That festival was put into place to celebrate the 50th birthday of the organisation, as well as gather actors and consumers of organic products and of renewable energies, alternative medicine, participative system lovers,... seriously, I want to say, of anything that is alternative!
Basic Income (wikipedia): It is the idea of unconditionnally providing everyone with a basic income, no matter the age, the profession or the race, as to ensure basic survival. It has good impact on quality of life and has been discussed for decades already.
"Villages Eclairs", flash villages, built very quickly by nomads with natural elements.
This was really interesting, informative, educational, inspiring.
This is why we travel!
Attend the rocket stove workshop
On the road, we came across an uncomon crop...