The Bec Hellouin farm was created by Perrine and Charles HERVE-GRUYER in 2006.
Perrine and Charles run this market garden in Normandy – France, but not your usual market garden: « we have started our project with the intention of exploring ecologically sound food growing practices, despite neither of us having previous experience of farming ».
Untainted by knowledge of conventional western practices we took on the principles of permaculture and drew upon sources as varied as the practices of 19th century Parisian Market Gardener’s, Amazonian tribes people and Asian EM (Efficient Micro-organisms) related practices.
Our faith in the principles carried us through the inevitable bumps of a new and ambitious project, while learning as we went and encountering many problems!
In the past 12 years we have experimented and developed innovative methods which appear to be particularly productive. Interested by the performances of such a small farm, INRA (The National Institute of Agricultural Research) and AgroParisTech (a major French Graduate Institute in Science and Engineering) have conducted from 2011 to 2015 a research program entitled “Organic growing in permaculture and economic performance” which aim was to record and report our methods and yields. This study concludes that small scale farming done entirely by hand is highly efficient and productive. (You can find all study reports on English at the end of this page).
The farm has also caught the attention of other institutions, including European agencies responsible for planning food security strategies, and it has significantly raised interest in Permaculture in France. We keep on organising research programs related to biodiversity, carbon capture and the forest garden systems.
Not only are the food yields incredibly high, but the gardens are a haven of biodiversity and a place of real joy and beauty to live and work. Our exploration has led to something incredibly important for mankind – agriculture which is not just sustainable but restorative.
Another interview :
The book Miraculous Abundance chronicles the fascinating journey of the Bec Hellouin Farm and this unique approach.
We are currently writing a new book describing all the techniques we use in the gardens. It shall be released in French at the end of 2018 and English translation shall follow…