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

Perrine and Charles Hervé-Gruyer, trans. from the French by John F. Reynolds. Chelsea Green, $24.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-60358-642-9
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. The book is more about inspiration than nuts and bolts; readers looking for specific details of the farm’s systems should hold out for the Hervé-Gruyers’ market gardening manual, which is in the works. Color photos. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-60358-643-6
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