“A map of the world that does not include Utopia, is not worth even glancing at.”Oscar Wilde
We recently finished reading a beautiful book called Miraculous Abundance by Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer.
“Nothing prepared us to become farmers,” Charles writes in the introduction. “Perrine was an international lawyer; I was a sailor.”
Having bought a small farm in a Normandy valley, Perrine and Charles moved into their new home — a thatched old farmhouse — in 2004 ‘with a head full of dreams’ and very little agricultural experience.
Ten years later, at the time of publication of their book Miraculous Abundance, the Hervé-Gruyers are running a successful market garden at their farm called La Ferme du Bec Hellouin. They have created a little paradise in a location where the land was not particularly fertile to begin with.
It has been a steep learning curve for Charles and Perrine. There have been times when they were not sure whether they were going to survive economically. There were no successful role models in France, and they did not get much support during the difficult beginnings. Now they are receiving visitors from all over the world who want to learn from them.
Charles and Perrine insist that they didn’t invent anything new, that they learned and copied from others, experimented, and most importantly: they followed a path in which they believed whole-heartedly.
“We try to trust life,” they say.
This trust has paid off. La Ferme du Bec Hellouin is now enriched by an edible landscape, a forest garden, a mandala garden and two island gardens as well as an ‘international research centre for permaculture’. Moreover, Perrine and Charles’ love for growing healthy food has lead to a mutually inspiring collaboration with award winning chefs from French gourmet restaurants.
Growing food manually is at the heart of the philosophy of the farm. This is not a regression to a ‘pre-industrial agriculture’ of the past, but a progression towards an eco-culture of the future.
Perrine and Charles are eco-culture pioneers. They are setting an inspiring example and show that contemporary eco-culture can serve human needs, while giving our planet a chance of survival.
You can find out more about how Perrine and Charles grow a ‘miraculous abundance’ in their little paradise here: La Ferme du Bec Hellouin
The book was published by Chelsea Green Publishing