Juan Gamarra & Le fournil vagabond, itinerant bakery

FR - Bread has always been a food linked to family life, a taste for simple and tasty things. 

A true pleasure that goes well with any table and any budget. Bread is a unique as well as multiple component of our meals, from a simple slice of bread to country loaf. 

Perhaps that's what attracted Juan Gamarra, who a while ago embarked on a very personal venture, an itinerant bakery. Let's meet up with him to find out more...


Le fournil vagabond©Juan GamarraMEET 

Hello Juan,

Welcome to the Local products section of the blog.

We discovered your project when we wrote our paper on the French association Adie.

In a few words, could you introduce yourself and tell us how you came up with the idea of setting up an itinerant bakery?

I came to France from Argentina in 1998... I studied law there and worked in shanty towns and as a prison visitor... It was all a social and humanitarian commitment. 

Since I arrived in France, I've been learning French, studying history and Spanish... This led to a Master's degree, a CAPES... and a natural vocation for teaching, passing on knowledge and culture.

When my son was born, I decided to resign from the Education Nationale and go back to university to do a Masters in International Relations at Sciences Po Lyon.

Since then, I've been interested in agro-ecology, self-sufficiency and preservation of resources. I wanted to be a committed father, able of doing many things. After a number of experiences in Cuba with the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), I continued my training in urban agriculture, at Semailles, Avignon (an organic farming integration project), at the Montessori School in Avignon with a Forest Garden project and other experiences of cultivating the earth (and my soul and my spirit...). 

The confinement gave me time to reflect, take a step back, look at what's essential, work on my oven, start my apprenticeship, my observation, realise my desires and discover a passion. In short, to be consistent with my ideas, to put them into practice, to touch the clay, to get my hands dirty! 


Juan Gamarra



You had to learn baking, follow training courses. How long did it take to prepare your project? What professional help did you get to start your business apart from support from ADIE?

At the end, it took me 3 years of preparation and apprenticeship with local bakers and farmers.

A first training course at the EIDB (International Bakery School), another at the Atelier Paysan to learn how to build my metal oven, and then, in 2022/2023, preparation for the Bakery CAP, with the diploma due in June.

Finally, a crowdfunding campaign to buy the kit to build the oven and the support of ADIE, which you mentioned earlier, enabled me to launch my project.



Your bakery is part of a number of markets in the region. Where can you be found?

You can currently find me at my main market, in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, on Thursday mornings. I've also started up the Allées de l'Oulle farmers' market in Avignon every Monday evening. I'd also like to mention Botanic® Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, who supported me from the start and welcomed me when I launched my business.

I'd like to set up a system of orders too, in pick-up points, which would give me some cash advance and enable me to better plan my bread production. 

Do you have any partners ?

As Le fournil vagabond isn't a traditional bakery, I work in almost total freedom. I'm not looking for having my shop, or employees that could take me away from bread and its values, from my customers and the bond I've built up with them on the markets... For me, having to work day and night to pay off a loan would be like taking away the spirit of my project.

However, I'm not opposed to working with some partners, other bakers and/or groups who would work with the same values and objectives. The Fournil Vagabond project is still under construction, consolidating and, why not, evolving.


You claim to bake bread with a conscience... 

For me, making bread of quality, using only good flours, is a priority, to ensure my bread is appreciated by the customers. Bread with a conscience is almost what you can call a political bread: made at home, in my workshop (which I hope to enlarge) and baked in my wood-fired oven (which uses just two wheelbarrows of wood per working day, so economical, self-sufficient, a far cry from the astronomical, polluting bills of conventional bakeries with electric ovens)...

In short, local bread that meets strict, traditional specifications and limited production... Not to mention a clear reduction of costs, low investment, a very small carbon footprint and a quality of life that's chosen for a happy sobriety, with a quest for meaning.

Le fournil vagabond©Juan Gamarra



A travelling bakery, a traditional wood-fired oven... What about local and organic flours and seeds?

I only work with Moulin Saint-Joseph, in Grans mill (near Salon-de-Provence), which supplies me with flours made from wheat grown in the Gard, Vaucluse and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence regions, by farmers committed to growing old varieties such as eincorn (petit épeautre) and other old species such as "khorasan, touselle, saissette, rouge de Bordeaux and Barbu de Roussillon". 

The flours are fresh, mostly wholemeal and/or integral. The nutritional aspect is very important. Sourdough plays a big part in the quality of the bread, its keeping qualities and its digestibility.

These flours require time. We're far away from the toxic mixed flours offered by conventional bakeries, created for the mechanisation and speed of bread-making. My bread is ORGANIC and certified with the AB logo. 




Another bread (and another world) is possible


What would be the next step?

Build a bigger oven this summer for sure, of the same design as the current one, but with a capacity of 50 kilos of bread per batch. This will allow me to carry out new tests, work on other mixes... and expand my range of products, to offer a wider variety of breads and pastries.

Knowing that in Argentina, quince paste and milk jam are quited appreciated, as well as chocolate and custard, it could be a good idea to offer new products with these ingredients and, why not, some delicious empanadas, which would be like a little nod to my Argentinian roots.


Any comments you'd like to add?

My project is an adventure that began a long time ago with successive commitments. It's a journey that continues day after day.

As well as building my new oven and setting up my workshop, I'm also looking for land on loan or as a commodatum, so that I can grow my own wheat. So I take the opportunity of  your paper to send a message: if anyone would like to take part in my project and offer available land, I'd be delighted to plant wheat on it!

Between now and September, I'd also like to organise the second part of the project, which is developing and offering bread workshops in schools, retirement homes, associations, sporting events, etc. Le Fournil Vagabond is an organic, local and committed project... It's in tune with our time and aims to be a player in the ongoing transition and a witness to the necessary changes. 

I'd also love to take part in the Uzès farmers' market (Marché des producteurs) but, for the moment, I've yet to contact the organisers to propose my offer...


Many thanks to Juan Gamarra for his contribution to this article. 

The right address: Le Fournil Vagabond de Juan, Chemin de Saint Anthelme, 30131 Pujaut. Tel: 06 63 67 84 46, Juangamarra@hotmail.com. On the markets: Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, on Thursday mornings, Allées de l'Oulle farmers' market in Avignon every Monday evening, and in Botanic® Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.

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