Farmer designers, agriculture on the move

from 14 July 2021 to 8 May 2022

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Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer

49°13'21"N, 0°43'48"E
Le Bec Hellouin Farm, Le Bec-Hellouin, Eure

Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer are behind many agroecological vocations in France. Created in 2004, their farm, which spans 20 hectares in the Eure department, was and remains a benchmark site for permaculture.

In partnership with INRA, AgroParisTech and universities, Perrine and Charles examine autonomous microfarm models on a regional scale, from an energy, organic and hydric perspective, as well as in terms of seeds and animal feed. A series of research programmes are conducted, taking nature as a model. The entirely manual bio-intensive market gardening technique has proven productive and pertinent in creating a diversified agro-ecosystem and numerous sources of biomass.

Other work focused on increasing soil fertility and carbon storage, forest garden and edible forest concepts, along with increasing biodiversity. All these goals have been considered through the prism of permaculture, which positions each natural element so that it interacts positively with the others.

The Bec Hellouin farm sounds, recorded by Jean-Etienne Frère, spring and winter 2020


Selection of Perrine and Charles Hervé Gruyer's drawings representing examples of cultivation combinations, extracts from the book Vivre avec la terre. Manuel des jardiniers maraîchers (Actes Sud, 2019):  

Combination of shallots, lettuces and kohlrabis
The radishes sowed thinly reach the stage of the harvest, while the carrots are still very small
The corns are used as a support for the beans
On the left side the carrots are still in place, on the right side they have been harvested
and replaced by young multicoloured beetroots
Cabbages, broad beans, lettuces and radishes are represented in this drawing 
Eight rows of planted carrots and three rows of planted leeks 

For more information:
Le Bec Hellouin Farm