The association BASE has been the leading network for conservation agriculture in France. BASE’s goal is to facilitate the exchange of information between farmers and/or agronomists. It’s self-funded and independent, run by a board of farmer member. Starting from Brittany it now has 900 members spread all over France. Originally ‘no-till’ oriented, it now has 4 different ‘ branches’ – organic, agroforestry, grazing and BASE UK. Through a network of speakers, both French and international, BASE offers field days, conferences and now training to provide practical answers to its members who choose to take on these new agriculture approaches. Cover-crop mixes, companion cropping, strip-till, nettle teas, etc, are among the subjects BASE has been working on.
BASE has adapted over the years but still remains 100% run by farmers. It relies on the devotion of the board and its local members to stay active. Since last year the association has been working with a partner to take care of the practical issues of putting training courses togeth-er. The independence and openness of BASE brought a lot of interest from researchers and politicians. Some of the ideas that were born and developed by our network are now being taken up by the official institutions, like cover crop mixes and companion cropping in rape.