My* French mom found the love of her life in Switzerland. She worked as a waitress in Geneva. One day in her café she met a journeyman carpenter from Germany, my dad.
She couldn’t speak German and he couldn’t speak one word of French. Love at first sight.
Time passed and after many adventures they decided to build a family together. They had two sons and one daughter. We all lived in my mother’s home country and after different places my parents decided to move to the Southwest. They wanted to buy a farm and learn to produce organic cheese. Just like that.
Childhood in France
I spent my whole childhood in the middle of nowhere. We had goats, pigs, cows, chicken. My parents put love and passion into their work and tried their best to educate us with the best values they could. The cheeses they made were the most delicious I’ve ever had. We also had our own meat. As you can tell: nothing vegan for us back at this time.
My mom produced cheeses and sold them on the markets. My dad was responsible for the animals and the grain harvests. All was well balanced but then … my mom passed away. My father had to deal with my teenager crisis and do all the farm work alone. We missed her so much. I think my dad wanted to die for a while. So did I. But we survived. We often went to the markets together and sold our products. He was exhausted. He waited for my brothers and I to be over the age of majority and sold our farm to move back to Germany. His farmer life was over.
The animal condition
Even if the animals had an outdoor life and even if they were loved and respected: they were forced to be property. The goats and cows had to be constantly pregnant to produce milk. Their babies were taken away from them after the birth. Males were sold to the meat industry, females were forced to have the same future as their mothers. The pigs we saw grow up from babies were sent to the slaughterhouses once they were big enough. They came back in pieces, ready to be transformed into sausages. There is no ethical way to be killed, even on a small organic farm.
My brother Tim and I decided to cut all animal products a few years ago, but the most remarkable thing is that my dad also turned vegan a few weeks ago! I found him a good blender to start, I bought him a vegan cheese recipes book and… he’s now making his own vegan cheese! Mimi and I are doing our best to inspire him to continue this journey. That’s just the beginning, but maybe we’ll have a vegan family company in a few years, who knows?
Dad, if you read this: thanks for being the most incredible dad I could have ever had, I owe you all I know and all I am. Please never forget how much I adore you and how thankful I am to have you. I love the relationship you have with Mimi, thank you for letting her feel so welcome in our family and thank you for accepting us no matter what.
*Zoé is writing there!
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