Lemaire-Boucher is the name given to a pioneering method of organic farming developed in France from 1958 or 1959 by Jean Boucher (died Sept 2009), an agronomist who had previously worked for France’s Plant Protection Service (Service de la Protection des Végétaux), and a grain dealer called Raoul Lemaire (and his sons, Jean-François and Pierre-Bernard). The Lemaire-Boucher method was based on maintaining soil fertility, by both traditional crop rotation and the composting of farm animal manure. The method also used lithotham, a marine algae rich in calcium and magnesium as well as other mineral trace elements, to maintain soil fertility. Healthy crop growth requires balanced levels of both magnesium and calcium in the soil (seaweed extracts are popular products in health food stores for their magnesium content). The Lemaire-Boucher initiative led to the creation in 1961 of the French Organic Agricultural Association (AFAB), whose origins lay in the Groupement d’agriculture biologique de l’ouest (GABO), the Western France Organic Association. Critics argue that ‘while the method gave good results on acid soils, it was less successful on calcareous soils and was abandoned,’ (Malnic et al, p.7).
See also: Nature et Progrès.
Le Nouveau Guide des Vins Biologiques 2010-2011 by Evelyne Malnic, Georges Lepré & Antoine Pétrus (Sang de la Terre, France).