The Kale Project, founded by Kristen Beddard, began in April 2012 as an initiative to re-introduce the leafy-green vegetable and légume oublié, kale, to France. You can read more about the history of kale in Europe & France here.
The goals were simple:
>When in season, kale will be available to buy in outdoor markets, health food stores and supermarkets.
>Encourage a few chefs to try to use it!
>ONLY work with local farmers and encourage others to support their local producers. (If other larger producers grow it, that is something that helps #1 but I will not personally support).
What started as a small passion project has grown into more than just a website and a few expats pining for kale. Today le chou kale, when in-season, is available at outdoor markets, organic shops like Naturalia and Bio C’Bon, specialty épiceries and stores like Causse in Paris or La Recharge in Bordeaux and even larger supermarkets like Monoprix, Carrefour and Le Grand Frais.
Producers vary as well. The Kale Project still works with and supports smaller producers to grow their own kale but larger producers both organic and conventional now grow the vegetable as well. Large distributors may even import it from Spain during the off-season. These larger initiatives are in no way directly connected to The Kale Project.
The Kale Project has also expanded to Spain with two locations in Murcia and the Basque region. You can read more about The Kale Project Spain here.
The Kale Project is an independent endeavor started out of passion for vegetables. Kristen is not affiliated with any large American corporation. She has no connection to Monsanto and does not support GMOs. She is not taking over Brittany with kale farms. She also is not trying to change French cuisine or “teach” the French how to eat. As a sensible communications professional, one must educate about a product if it is not well-known.
Today, The Kale Project is more than just kale in France. It is a celebration of vegetables, markets, farmers and most importantly real food.