A French man has cycled the length of France - 1,400kms from the most northmost village near Dunkirk to the most southern village by the Spanish border - in a bid to highlight how our food choices affect the environment.
Axel Férard spent 13 days on the trip visiting schools and municipal buildings in remote villages to raise awareness about eco-farming.
He reached the end of his journey in September in the green valley of Lamanere on the Spanish border, where he spoke with The Connexion.
“Usually if you hold a conference on the environment in a big city, the people who show up are already aware of the issues and how to tackle them,” he said.
“I realised that I had to travel to reach people and chose to do it through sport. It was a beautiful experience.
“I think I helped raise awareness with a lot of kids about sustainable agriculture, and protecting the environment through how we eat.”
14 half marathons, a tour de France, and a paddleboard
This is not Mr Férard’s first athletic feat in the name of the environment: In June he ran 14 half marathons in 14 days across his home region of Normandy. In 2022, he did his own Tour de France, cycling over 5,500km.
He works with the NGO Graine d’Odyssée, which focuses on spreading awareness on sustainable farming. It is estimated that a third of all greenhouse gas emissions are linked with food.
Over his trip, Mr Férard talked about reducing food waste, eating seasonal foods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and making agriculture less impactful on the environment.
“For instance,” he said, “we used inflation as an example of how our current system isn’t resilient enough.”
He said social media played a big role in the success of his adventure. Many schools and local authorities discovered him on Facebook and Instagram after seeing his daily updates (Instagram: axelferard_ecoaventurier) and invited him to visit.
Mr Férard is already preparing another adventure in October. This time he will paddleboard up the Dordogne, from its source to its mouth. He said he had not decided on a precise itinerary yet, but that he would be sharing it on social media.