It was back in 1997 that a few conventional vegetable producers, all members of CERAFEL Bretagne (the Regional Economic Committee for Agriculture, Fruit and Vegetables), began their conversion to organic production and created a regional committee.
Their number has increased over the years and there are now 22 growers who produced 4,300 tonnes of vegetables in 2005.
These growers are spread over three production zones bordering the Breton coast:
They are guided by two principles:
organic and teamwork
To make progress following these philosophies, the producers of Prince de Bretagne's organic network work together, sharing their experiences, deciding between them what range of vegetables to produce and finding an equitable system of payment.
They have made the decision to stay within an organisation that produces vegetables largely by conventional methods as they believe organic agriculture is the agriculture of the future and want to show this on a daily basis to conventional growers.
This way agriculture as a whole can enjoy positive developments.
Following this logic, the vegetable trial station at Pleumeur-Gautier in the Côtes d'Armor specialises in organic agriculture.
Its major research areas are decided by the growers in the CERAFEL organic committee and its results are shared with everyone, conventional and organic, producers in groups and those who remain independent.
The professional body responsible for creating varieties and producing seeds - OBS (Brittany Selection Organisation) - works to produce organic seeds in response to demands from the organic committee.
Thus a dozen varieties of organic cauliflower are available to growers in the Prince de Bretagne organic network.
Prince de Bretagne's organic range comprises some 20 different lines, available on a seasonal basis. This diversified range has two benefits - optimising crop rotation for the grower and ensuring the demands of clients are met.
In each department (or county), the reception and packing stations, which are approved by an organic certification body, receive the vegetables, check the quality and verify their traceability.
The vegetables are sold by the sales office to Prince de Bretagne shippers, who ensure good trading relationships with the clients, as well as the logistics.