La Petite Foire de Semel

The 'little fair' of Semel is explicitly designed as an alternative to Belgium's big agricultural fair at Libramont, and takes place each year on the same weekend as its larger rival.

It's a relaxed and friendly event that mixes demonstrations of traditional farming and craft techniques, and opportunities to sample and buy organic local produce, with debates on agricultural policy and practice. The organisers present themselves as anti-agribusiness ('Towards ethical, peasant farming'). Representatives of Monsanto should probably stay away. Hard-core participants camp overnight and are invariably charming. The food is wonderful, but everyone is expected to wash their own dishes.

I offered my services as a volunteer photographer for the weekend and had a fantastic time. Almost everyone I encountered had an interesting story to tell and was willing to be photographed without striking a pose.