The AFC : Structuring harvesting professionals to promote sustainable and respectful management

Cueilleurs d'Arnica montana
Type of data: 
Good practice
Personal communication outside INCREDIBLE events

AFC is the French Association of professionals wild plants pickers. It was created in 2011 to bring together professionals of wild plants picking and to promote this profession.
It defends sustainable commercial harvesting and a responsible profession.
It wishes to ensure the representativeness of the pickers with other operators in the sectors and the public authorities.


In the context of the AMP sector growth, but also taking into account of the generalized degradation of the biodiversity, the French pickers wished to organize themselves to allow the recognition and the evolution of their profession. Indeed, the job of harvester remains little or poorly known, their status is imprecise, and commercial picking is often perceived as an informal and marginal activity, potentially destructive for the environment.
They wish to become real interlocutors in the sector.

Main results: 

The AFC currently has more than 100 members including 80% of gatherers and 20% of technical partners. The consultations and work carried out in the FloreS project led to the definition of the profession, its framework and its requirements. The AFC's values ​​have been specified in an ethical charter for all harvesting professionals: management of resources and environments, compliance with legislation, transmission of knowledge and respectful know-how.
The association promotes exchange, sharing, it defends a profession responsible for sustainable management of the resource ; they are co-constructing with scientific partners a guide to good harvesting practices, and play a role of expertise in the sector .

Main practical recommendations: 

AFC harvesters are committed to the following values:

- use respectful harvesting techniques and ensure sustainable management of resources,

- respect other pickers and their picking territories,

- use the spaces after consultation and authorization from the owners,

- deepen knowledge to improve practices,

- participate in raising the awareness of the public concerned by wild resources (gatherers, user businesses, general public).

- represent these values ​​and objectives in the political and institutional structures,

- defend the future of this profession and its traditional knowledge,

Impacts and weaknesses: 

Thanks to the dialogues, exchanges and training organized within the association, each member develops awareness and increased competences in the management of the resource.

It has already become a recognized interlocutor for the profession within the sector and institutions.

The association also constitutes a sign of recognition, for any owner or processor, of the quality of the harvest carried out.

It is still young, not yet known to all the pickers who could join it ; means of communication and animation are to be mobilized to pursue its objectives.

Future developments: 

The AFC wishes to encourage the establishment of territorial management plans for wild resources in order to broaden the ambitions of the association at a territory scale.
It is preparing with its partners the emergence of a picking observatory to better know the economic, social and environmental aspects of this activity in France.
Currently focused on the AMP sector in France, it is also planning its development on other harvesting products.
Today, it is limited to metropolitan France but could consider its development outside metropolitan France and beyond its borders.

Association Française des Cueilleurs professionnels de plantes sauvages

Thomas Echantillac President of AFC, thomas.echantillac@outlook.fr

Michèle Lagacherie, CNPF délégation régionale Occitanie,

Further information

Claire Julliand, Florence Pinton, Raphaële Garreta et Jean-Paul Lescure - 2019 - Normaliser le sauvage : l'expérience française des cueilleurs professionnels. EchoGéo n° 47, janv-mars 2019. 

Figure 1 credit: 

Thierry Thévenin

Figure 2: 
This network, supported by the association, allows pickers to exchange and organize themselves to defend good practices and their profession.
Figure 2 caption and credit: 

This network, supported by the association, allows pickers to exchange and organize themselves to defend good practices and their profession. Photo Michèle Lagacherie