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Groove Armada's Andy Cato guides you through sustainable farming at ADE Green

Tuesday, 30 July 2019
On Friday, October 18th, ADE Green returns to the DeLaMar Theater for its 7th edition together with Green Events to ignite and strengthen sustainability, innovation and social change through the music and events industry.
Andy Cato22

After recent festival news about Dockyard & Mystic Garden returning to Havenpark and Monstercat taking over The Melkweg, we are shifting into conference-related topics as ADE Green announces their first speaker.

Andy Cato is a well-respected artist and part of the renowned electronic music duo Groove Armada, but now dedicates most of his life to his organic farm in the south of France whilst also maintaining a busy touring and recording schedule with Groove Armada.

Over the past decades, Groove Armada have toured the world, both as a full band and as a DJ duo, establishing them as a well known dance act. Throughout his music career, Andy has also pursued solo projects outside the group. When Groove Armada took a break from recording and touring back in 2011, Andy read an article about sustainable farming. Something clicked and he had an epiphany. He ended up selling his publishing rights to start an organic farm in France, even though he had absolutely no experience in farming at all.

The article said, "If you don't like the system, don't depend on it."

After eight years' worth of hard work, risky investments and loving care, Andy's farm is now thriving with healthy wheat plants, standing unusually tall at 6 feet. Evenly tall Andy had to learn the farming trade from his much narrower French neighbors, which was a humbling experience with a steep learning curve. Eventually, he learned how to grow his crops according to the nature-inclusive principles of organic farming, which balances giving and taking from the earth. The rewards? Delicious and nutritious bread for the customers, healthier topsoil for the future and, perhaps more surprisingly, a different outlook on life where happiness comes from simpler things: growing and tasting your own food.

In cities, everything is inevitably monetized. When you're farming, or simply trying to live in some kind of balance with the natural world, one of the first things you need to get rid of is the mentality that says "how much am I getting paid for what I am doing".

Andy cato bread

Andy went out of his way to source an ancient variety of seeds for his wheat. Ever since last century's commercialization of agriculture, these taller varieties or wheat were lost. Back at the farm, the managed to bring these old seeds back to life. The diligently turns his yield into flour with an artisanal stone grinder. And he never uses tractors on his land, preferring horses to avoid compacting and damaging the topsoil. This return to the old ways of farming all contributors to a superior product, a healthier planet, and a happier Andy. But it also consumes most of his time and energy. So, what challenges did he come across in the past years? What are his plans for the future? And does his new fulfilling way or life mean the end of Groove Armada?

Learn more about Andy's remarkable story here and during ADE Green on Friday October 18th.

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