The Bec Hellouin method

The horticultural practice at La Ferme du Bec Hellouin in Normandy is of worldwide importance, for both food security and carbon sequestration. To quote from Paris Match (30th August 2018), my translation:

The result is spectacular: from 1,000 square metres of land, Perrine and Charles have a turnover of 55,000 euros. … By way of comparison, conventional organic market gardening makes it possible to achieve an average turnover of around 30,000 euros – from 10,000 square metres. Booom!

… Soil quality has also improved rapidly: a study conducted in 2017 by the University of Liège shows that their soils are storing up to 26 times more organic carbon than the goals set by [the international 4 per 1000 initiative].

… The economic performance of Bec Hellouin farm is based on its ecological performance. The more natural, complex and diverse the farm is, the more productive, sustainable and resilient it becomes.

The farm provided a summary of its method, in French, which is no longer accessible online. For English speakers, my own translation (helped by is downloadable. Alternatively it is readable in a modular form on this site with a few extra notes and highlighting.

The farm has spawned two books, several academic and governmental studies and an educational establishment on site. The books are:

Hervé-Gruyer, Perrine & Charles (2016). Miraculous Abundance. White River Junction, VT, USA: Chelsea Green Publishing. ISBN 978-1603586429. Translated from the same authors’ (2014) Permaculture : Guérir la terre, nourrir les hommes. Arles, France: Actes Sud Editions. ISBN 978-2330074166.

Hervé-Gruyer, Perrine & Charles (2019). Vivre avec la terre. Arles, France: Actes Sud Editions. ISBN 978-2330119478. This is a magnificent encyclopaedic work, with over 1000 pages in three volumes; one for the ages. A reviewer said he felt he could throw away all his other books on gardening. No doubt an English translation will come, but it will be a major task. Fortunately I read French well enough!