Chelsea Green Publishing

Miraculous Abundance

Pages:272 pages
Book Art:Black-and-white illustrations throughout, 16-page color insert
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586429
Pub. Date March 23, 2016

Miraculous Abundance

One Quarter Acre, Two French Farmers, and Enough Food to Feed the World

By Perrine Hervé-Gruyer and Charles Hervé-Gruyer
Foreword by Eliot Coleman

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
March 23, 2016

$24.95

The Bec Hellouin model for growing food, sequestering carbon, creating jobs, and increasing biodiversity without using fossil fuels

When Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer set out to create their farm in an historic Normandy village, they had no idea just how much their lives would change. Neither one had ever farmed before. Charles had been circumnavigating the globe by sail, operating a floating school that taught students about ecology and indigenous cultures. Perrine had been an international lawyer in Japan. Each had returned to France to start a new life. Eventually, Perrine joined Charles in Normandy, and Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin was born. 

Bec Hellouin has since become a celebrated model of innovative, ecological agriculture in Europe, connected to national and international organizations addressing food security, heralded by celebrity chefs as well as the Slow Food movement, and featured in the inspiring César and COLCOA award-winning documentary film, Demain ("Tomorrow"). Miraculous Abundance is the eloquent tale of the couple’s evolution from creating a farm to sustain their family to delving into an experiment in how to grow the most food possible, in the most ecological way possible, and create a farm model that can carry us into a post-carbon future—when oil is no longer moving goods and services, energy is scarcer, and localization is a must. 

Today, the farm produces a variety of vegetables using a mix of permaculture, bio-intensive, four-season, and natural farming techniques--as well as techniques gleaned from native cultures around the world. It has some animals for eggs and milk, horses for farming, a welcome center, a farm store, a permaculture school, a bread oven for artisan breads, greenhouses, a cidery, and a forge. It has also become the site of research focusing on how small organic farms like theirs might confront Europe’s (and the world’s) projected food crisis. 

But in this honest and engaging account of the trials and joys of their uncompromising effort, readers meet two people who are farming the future as much as they are farming their land. They envision farms like theirs someday being the hub for a host of other businesses that can drive rural communities—from bread makers and grain millers to animal care givers and other tradespeople. 

Market farmers and home gardeners alike will find much in these pages, but so will those who’ve never picked up a hoe.  The couple’s account of their quest to design an almost Edenlike farm, hone their practices, and find new ways to feed the world is an inspiring tale. It is also a love letter to a future in which people increasingly live in rural communities that rely on traditional skills, locally created and purveyed goods and services, renewable energy, and greater local governance, but are also connected to the larger world.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

"This book, more about philosophy than a how-to, describes how two inexperienced beginners succeeded in creating a gorgeous, productive, self-sustaining farm on 1000 square meters of land in Normandy—La Ferme du Bec Hellouin.

They did this by using the techniques of permaculture. This they define as “a box of smart tools that allows the creation of a lifestyle that respects the earth and its inhabitants—a practical method inspired by nature.” Later, they explain that it is based on an ethic: “Take care of the earth. Take care of the people. Equitably share resources.” As I said, philosophy, not how-to.

You have to read the book to figure out what all this means in practice. It seems to come down to what I thought of as French Intensive methods. These use raised beds, rich soil, composting, and thoughtful planting of coordinated crops that support each other’s growth and nutritional needs. Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya—nine seeds—approach works the same way. The authors drew on the work of John Jeavons, Eliot Coleman, and many other small-scale sustainable farmers from all over the world to develop their version of these methods.

If the color photographs are any indication, the results are magnificent. The place is so highly productive that it easily supports the two of them. The mandala garden alone made we want to get on the next plane just to see how it works in controlling weeds.

The moral: you could do this at home."--Marion Nestle

Publishers Weekly-

"Charles Hervé-Gruyer tells the starry-eyed, dirty-nailed story of how he and his wife, Perrine, transformed a 'dilapidated cottage' and 'a mediocre field' into an idyllic, prolific 37-acre farm and educational center in Normandy over the course of eight years. La Ferme du Bec Hellouin, one of the few French farms employing permaculture and intensive, nonmechanized agriculture, has attracted the attention of aspiring microfarmers and mainstream agronomists. Grounded in permaculture and inspired by intuition and beauty, Charles modestly acknowledges that their techniques are not original. They draw on a multitude of sources from indigenous Asian and South American cultures to 19th-century Parisian market gardeners and modern California biointensive gardening, and their teachers include English agrarian-self-sufficiency author John Seymour, Maine year-round farming expert Elliot Coleman, Quebec market gardener Jean-Martin Fortier, and a number of French organic-farming pioneers. Charles extrapolates from his own experience and environmental concerns to propose a worldwide agricultural transformation into “agrarian solidarity systems,” quasi-land trusts managed and cultivated by multiple individual farmers and the cottage industries that develop from them.” 

“’Dare to imagine the new,’ Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer tell us. ‘Take the best of the many traditions of humanity, and the best of modernity, to shape a world that has never existed.’ These authors synthesize the best from multiple indigenous cultures with successful patterns of modern small-scale farming to create a soaring example and vision of a future—one in which human beings are an essential and positive force helping to preserve the biosphere, and even a quarter acre can be a full-fledged and productive farm yielding amazing agricultural bounty.”--Carol Deppe, author of The Tao of Vegetable Gardening and The Resilient Gardener

Miraculous Abundance is a true marvel! Like Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer's amazing farm, their book blends science and anthropology, but it also mixes memoir and travelogue to create a beautiful whole that will inspire the next generation of farmers.”--Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City; coauthor ofThe Essential Urban Farmer

“This book will be a source of inspiration and guidance for those striving toward an agriculture that is not merely sustainable but also regenerative and rewarding. Charles and Perrine are trailblazers, courageous visionaries who have drawn inspiration from sources as varied as 19th century Parisian market gardeners and Amazonian tribes people. As their method is a fusion, so too is the book; practical, historical, and philosophical in tone, it shows us how practicing agriculture as part of the ecosystem is not only economically viable but also spiritually fulfilling. We need people like the Hervé-Gruyers to show us what is possible in reality rather than just theory, and in sharing their journey, they tell an important story for the future of humankind.”--Caroline Aitken, permaculture teacher and consultant at Patrick Whitefield Associates; coauthor of Food from Your Forest Garden

“At their farm in Normandy, France, Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer have created an inspiring example of how it is possible to intensively farm a small plot of land and produce an abundance of food while at the same time enriching the fertility of the soil and the health of the people, plants, and animals that live there. Their work demonstrates how people and nature can again co-exist for mutual benefit—and their self-sufficient way of living and farming is certainly the future of agriculture.”--Larry Korn, author of One-Straw Revolutionary; editor of Masanobu Fukuoka’s The One-Straw Revolution and Sowing Seeds in the Desert

Miraculous Abundance is a dynamic combination of permaculture, biointensive, four season, natural farming, and Amazonian farming approaches with exciting practical goals to pattern after. The book is about healing ourselves and the Earth in a post-carbon era. Worth reading for inner growth and outer growing of food, compost materials, income, and soil!”--John Jeavons, author; biologically intensive farming specialist

“Miraculous Abundance is absolutely the right book for right now. I don't know when I have been more encouraged about the future. The authors tell how, after some ten years of upward—not always successful—experimentation, going directly against the grain of modern industrial farming, they have advanced the renaissance of small-scale agriculture to near biological perfection. They are combining biointensive farming and permaculture to make a viable, diversified microfarm on test plots that are little more than two acres with the possibility of reducing that size down to as small as one fourth acre. They do their farming almost entirely by hand and with the utmost refinements and advances in agronomic soil enrichment. They use hardly any fossil-fuel energy at all, calling what they do the ‘agriculture of the sun.’ Along the way they provide solid evidence from sources all over the world to back up the conclusions they are drawing from their work, including achieving more healthful food, food security for the coming population increases, more jobs, effective sequestration of CO2, and indeed a whole new world order that would insure better social stability out of the chaos we presently face.”--Gene Logsdon, author of A Sanctuary of Trees and The Contrary Farmer   

“In this lovely, hopeful book, an unlikely couple creates an astonishingly productive edible landscape in Normandy, weaving together the insights, materials, and techniques of dozens of acknowledged predecessors. Miraculous Abundance is a modestly written song of defiance, a demonstration that the world can readily feed its projected 9 billion with an agriculture that restores the biosphere.”--Joan Gussow, author of Growing, Older and This Organic Life

“Miraculous Abundance offers one of the most readable, visceral blueprints for earth-healing abundance I've ever seen.  Absolutely captivating. Only true-blue practitioners, hands in the soil, can offer the kind of eclectic synthesis—combining the best of all the earth-healing traditions and technologies—discovered on this permaculture microfarm. A fantastic book with iconic potential.  I couldn't put it down.”--Joel Salatin, owner , Polyface Farm; author of Fields of Farmers

"Miraculous Abundance tells the story of a pioneering permaculture market garden in France. Small, highly diverse, highly productive microfarms are a critical part of climate-change mitigation; their 'agroecological intensification’ means we can grow more on less land and reduce deforestation at the same time. Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer's book covers more than the logistics of their operation—it delves into their philosophy and historical roots in French market garden history. Miraculous Abundance is a powerful case study of an intensive, commercial permaculture production system."--Eric Toensmeier, The Carbon Farming Solution

“Can farming a tiny quarter-acre piece of land be sustainable, economic, and fulfilling? In Miraculous Abundance, Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer tackle that very questions and answer it positively in the affirmative. This fascinating book describes the evolution of their farm from its beginnings in 2004, when the authors knew little, over the next ten years as they discovered biointensive agriculture, permaculture, forest gardens, and more. The authors are passionate about small, human-scale farming and the role it can play in the future, and they envisage a future with numerous small farms, enabling many more people to live on the land and lessening the effects of climate change. Their farm in France now attracts farmers, chefs, and scientists and also hosts a school to teach how a diverse edible landscape can be created to both earn a living and make a beautiful space and a fulfilling life.”--Martin Crawford, author of Trees for Gardens, Orchards and Permaculture

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Perrine Hervé-Gruyer

Perrine Hervé-Gruyer has worked as an international lawyer and head of the legal department of a major company in Asia, and has volunteered with the High Commissioner for Refugees. When she turned thirty, Perrine radically changed lanes, and began taking courses in psychotherapy, specifically in relaxation therapy, publishing a book titled La Relaxation en Famille. With her husband, Charles, she created Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin. Perrine also serves as a Green Party representative with the Regional Parliament of Haute-Normandie, where she oversees a committee focusing on agriculture.

Charles Hervé-Gruyer

Charles Hervé-Gruyer has been passionate about the relationship between humans and nature since childhood. He circumnavigated the globe for 22 years while operating a floating school focusing on ecology and indigenous cultures, the subject of many of his books and documentaries. Charles then directed his research to exploring our inner world, studying psychology, relaxation therapy, massage, and yoga instruction. Anxious to explore the most environmentally friendly farming practices, Charles created Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin with his wife, Perrine, in 2003. The couple then began an experiment merging various small-scale, intensive, organic, and natural agricultural techniques that would pique the interest of European agencies planning food-security strategy and raise awareness about permaculture in France. The farm also operates a permaculture school.

AUTHOR VIDEOS

The Permaculture Farm of Bec Hellouin (in French)

Introduction to Permaculture (In French)

Permaculture: Re-cultivate Simple Answers! Interview with Charles Hervé-Gruyer (In French)

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

By Gary Paul Nabhan

How to harvest water and nutrients, select drought-tolerant plants, and create natural diversity

Because climatic uncertainty has now become "the new normal," many farmers, gardeners and orchard-keepers in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt their food production to become more resilient in the face of such "global weirding." This book draws upon the wisdom and technical knowledge from desert farming traditions all around the world to offer time-tried strategies for:

  • Building greater moisture-holding capacity and nutrients in soils
  • Protecting fields from damaging winds, drought, and floods
  • Harvesting water from uplands to use in rain gardens and terraces filled with perennial crops
  • Delecting fruits, nuts, succulents, and herbaceous perennials that are best suited to warmer, drier climates

Gary Paul Nabhan is one of the world's experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands. For this book he has visited indigenous and traditional farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America, to learn firsthand their techniques and designs aimed at reducing heat and drought stress on orchards, fields, and dooryard gardens. This practical book also includes colorful "parables from the field" that exemplify how desert farmers think about increasing the carrying capacity and resilience of the lands and waters they steward. It is replete with detailed descriptions and diagrams of how to implement these desert-adapted practices in your own backyard, orchard, or farm.

This unique book is useful not only for farmers and permaculturists in the arid reaches of the Southwest or other desert regions. Its techniques and prophetic vision for achieving food security in the face of climate change may well need to be implemented across most of North America over the next half-century, and are already applicable in most of the semiarid West, Great Plains, and the U.S. Southwest and adjacent regions of Mexico.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

Gary Paul Nabhan, Bill McKibben

Paperback $29.95

Farm to Table

Farm to Table

By Darryl Benjamin and Lyndon Virkler

With information on purchasing, marketing, and employing farm-to-table principles in restaurants, schools, hospitals, and other institutions

Nearly a century ago, the idea of “local food” would have seemed perplexing, since virtually all food was local. Food for daily consumption—fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy products—was grown at home or sourced from local farms. Today, most of the food consumed in the United States and, increasingly, around the globe, is sourced from industrial farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which power a food system rife with environmental, economic, and health-related problems.

The tide, however, is slowly but steadily turning back in what has been broadly termed the “farm-to-table” movement. In Farm to Table, Darryl Benjamin and Chef Lyndon Virkler explore how the farm-to-table philosophy is pushing back modern, industrialized food production and moving beyond isolated “locavore” movements into a broad and far-reaching coalition of farmers, chefs, consumers, policy advocates, teachers, institutional buyers, and many more all working to restore healthful, sustainable, and affordable food for everyone.

Divided into two distinct but complementary halves, “Farm” and “Table,” Farm to Table first examines the roots of our contemporary industrial food system, from the technological advances that presaged the “Green Revolution” to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz’s infamous dictum to farmers to “Get big or get out” in the 1970s. Readers will explore the many threats to ecology and human health that our corporatized food system poses, but also the many alternatives—from permaculture to rotation-intensive grazing—that small farmers are now adopting to meet growing consumer demand. The second half of the book is dedicated to illuminating best practices and strategies for schools, restaurants, healthcare facilities, and other business and institutions to partner with local farmers and food producers, from purchasing to marketing.

No longer restricted to the elite segments of society, the farm-to-table movement now reaches a wide spectrum of Americans from all economic strata and in a number of settings, from hospital and office cafeterias, to elementary schools and fast-casual restaurants. Farm to Table is a one-of-a-kind resource on how to integrate sustainable principles into each of these settings and facilitate intelligent, healthful food choices at every juncture as our food system evolves. While borrowing from the best ideas of the past, the lessons herein are designed to help contribute to a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable tomorrow.

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

Farm to Table

Darryl Benjamin, Lyndon Virkler

Hardcover $49.95

The Holistic Orchard (Book & DVD Bundle)

The Holistic Orchard (Book & DVD Bundle)

By Michael Phillips

Every farm and homestead can enjoy the timeless pleasure of a fruit orchard. Yet this can also be challenging, because few people today have the depth of knowledge and experience that’s needed to produce healthy trees and nutritious, great-tasting fruit. At the same time, both orchardists and consumers are looking to avoid spraying harmful and expensive chemicals on their trees.

The answer is to create a more holistic orchard, one that emphasizes biological health and diversity – from the microscopic fungi in the soil to the beneficial insects, companion plants, and the birds and wildlife that together form a complete and living orchard ecosystem. In other words, it’s time for us to start working with nature, rather than fighting against it.

Michael Phillips is a pioneering author and orchardist whose books include The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower. In this book & DVD bundle you'll get Phillips's award-winning book The Holistic Orchard, which offers step-by-step information on all aspects of total orchard health, plus detailed growing information on fruit tree and berry species. You'll also get the DVD Holistic Orcharding with Michael Phillips, which shows Phillips's techniques at work in his own orchard.

About the Book:

The Holistic Orchard demystifies the basic skills everybody should know about the inner-workings of the orchard ecosystem, as well as orchard design, soil biology, and organic health management. Detailed insights on grafting, planting, pruning, and choosing the right varieties for your climate are also included, along with a step-by-step instructional calendar to guide growers through the entire orchard year. The extensive profiles of pome fruits (apples, pears, asian pears, quinces), stone fruits (cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums), and berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, currants, and elderberries) will quickly have you savoring the prospects.

Phillips completely changed the conversation about healthy orcharding with his first bestselling book, The Apple Grower, and now he takes that dialogue even further, drawing connections between home orcharding and permaculture; the importance of native pollinators; the world of understory plantings with shade-tolerant berry bushes and other insectary plants; detailed information on cover crops and biodiversity; and the newest research on safe, homegrown solutions to pest and disease challenges.

About the DVD:

Holistic Orcharding with Michael Phillips leads viewers through a year in his own orchard, demonstrating basic horticultural skills like grafting and pruning, but also revealing groundbreaking and field-tested strategies for growing apples and other tree fruits not just organically, but holistically.

Available in: Mixed media product

Read More

The Holistic Orchard (Book & DVD Bundle)

Michael Phillips

Mixed media product $79.95

Integrated Forest Gardening

Integrated Forest Gardening

By Wayne Weiseman and Daniel Halsey and Bryce Ruddock

Permaculture is a movement that is coming into its own, and the concept of creating plant guilds in permaculture is at the forefront of every farmer’s and gardener’s practice. One of the essential practices of permaculture is to develop perennial agricultural systems that thrive over several decades without expensive and harmful inputs: perennial plant guilds, food forests, agroforestry, and mixed animal and woody species polycultures.

The massive degradation of conventional agriculture and the environmental havoc it creates has never been as all pervasive in terms of scale, so it has become a global necessity to further the understanding of a comprehensive design and planning system such as permaculture that works with nature, not against it. The guild concept often used is one of a “functional relationship” between plants–beneficial groupings of plants that share functions in order to bring health and stability to a plant regime and create an abundant yield for our utilization. In other words, it is the integration of species that creates a balanced, healthy, and thriving ecosystem. But it goes beyond integration. A guild is a metaphor for all walks of life, most importantly a group of people working together to craft works of balance, beauty, and utility.

This book is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with extensive color photography and design illustrations. Included is information on:

•    What we can observe about natural plant guilds in the wild and the importance of observation;
•    Detailed research on the structure of plant guilds, and a portrait of an oak tree (a guild unto itself);
•    Animal interactions with plant guilds;
•    Steps to guild design, construction, and dynamics: from assessment to design to implementation;
•    Fifteen detailed plant guilds, five each from the three authors based on their unique perspectives;
•    Guild project management: budgets, implementation, management, and maintenance.

Readers of any scale will benefit from this book, from permaculture designers and professional growers, to backyard growers new to the concept of permaculture. Books on permaculture cover this topic, but never in enough depth to be replicable in a serious way. Finally, it’s here!

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Integrated Forest Gardening

Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, Bryce Ruddock

Paperback $45.00