“Farming offers many fashionable careers,” says a breathy French actress who sounds like Catherine Deneuve selling the proverbial bath oil. She’s the voice of a new government advertising campaign meant to entice more French youth to toil, fashionably, on the land. The ad campaign was launched at last week’s Paris farm show. You can hear a snippet on NPR.
Sign me up! True, I’m no spring chicken, but I know how to prune apple trees. I know how to squeeze cider. I venerate Calvados vénérable. If I’d known Paris had a farm show, I would have packed my bibs and John Deere cap and hopped the next flight over there.
Here’s the scoop from AFP (022109):
PARIS (AFP) — France’s annual crop and livestock show opened on Saturday with President Nicolas Sarkozy promising farmers to help prepare them to face a future with smaller European subsidies.
Part trade fair and part family day out, the week-long jamboree is expected to draw half-a-million visitors to an exhibition centre in Paris and allow city dwellers to reconnect with French farming traditions.
It is also a highly political event, an annual opportunity for a string of Paris-based politicians to have themselves photographed with one of the 650 prize cattle, 550 sheep and 140 horses on show.
Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, has a country retreat of his own in the Correze farming heartland and was a farm show natural, clearly enjoying the ritual and a chance to talk to farming leaders.
The new president, the former mayor of one of Paris’ plushest suburbs, is less comfortable at the show. Last year, Sarkozy was caught on video telling a visitor who refused to shake his hand: “Get lost, you stupid bastard.” Read more