09. Area under cultivation

The growing area is very small (of the order of 500 to 1000 m2 per worker, adapted to each individual’s capacities), but very intensively cultivated in diversified market gardening on permanent beds. Field vegetables such as potatoes and squash requiring more space can be grown using more traditional methods (draught animals, etc).

Densifying vegetable crops on a very small area has significant advantages: the plot can be created in a small space (in urban areas for example), or available space can be freed for other uses (see 3: Microfarm).

We emphasise this again because most of us are unaware of the productivity potential of micro-agriculture and there is a real risk of cultivating too large an area, which cannot be properly cared for and will lead to exhaustion or even failure. The approach described in these lines works only if the cultivated area is very small, but very well-tended! At Bec Hellouin, the area cultivated per worker decreases each year, and productivity increases with it, as does satisfaction. It is important to adapt the tool to its uses, and not the other way around!

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