Occupations of a French Teen

fiona pulling radi

I walked in the gate of my courtyard and watched as Fiona (now 16) carefully dug a small hole in the newly tilled soil, stuck a perfectly trimmed and washed radish in it, and covered it so just the green stem was showing.  Nearby her friend, Elisa, was filming the process.  Fiona then looked at the camera and pulled out the radish, a huge smile on her face.

fiona with radish

The duo moved to the apple trees, where Fiona set a cox orange pippin I’d gotten at the market that morning  in the crook of a branch, amidst spring’s apple blossoms, then proceeded to “pick” the apple with the same apparent joy.

fiona planting apple

fiona with apple


“Oh hi, mom, we’re working on a project for our civics class,” Fiona said, as she and Elisa gathered their props and followed me into the kitchen, which they’d transformed into a miniature farmers’ market.

kitchen market

“We’ve designed a new way of buying food, mom,” she said, pointing to the baskets of produce, the fresh farm eggs, the pats of local butter. “Producers have their own store; they bring in fresh produce every two days, they staff it so they don’t have to pay for staff, and they all live close by so they hardly use any fuel to transport their food.  The food isn’t expensive, it’s fresh, and it’s local.”

The goal of all of this?

“We’re holding a Presidential election, mom, and Elisa and I want to win,” Fiona said. “This is a major part of our platform.”

This effort was thought up by two high schoolers in a a rural town in France, where the farmer’s market reigns supreme.  I was surprised they would think this was important, but Fiona says she doesn’t think their classmates “get” issues like carbon footprint, how much better local food from small growers is than what they might get in the supermarket, and how logical it is to set up cooperative market.

“Mom, we’re educating people,” she said.

The “election” is in two weeks. I can’t wait to see who wins.






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