Regeneration International and Kiss the Ground have teamed up to create a video series they call “Trails of Regeneration.” Their latest segment takes you to Normandy, France, for a closer look at a farm that has been highly successful over the last 12 years: Farm du Bec Hellouin.
By what yardstick do farmers Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer measure the success of their farm business? For starters: yield.
Using regenerative practices, the husband-and-wife team says they can grow as much food on one-tenth of a hectare (one hectare equals about 2.3 acres) of land as neighboring farms grow on only one hectare of land! How? The organic farm, based on the principles of permaculture, uses mound cultivation, agroforestry, associated crops, animal traction, fragmented ramal wood, effective microorganisms, terra preta and more.
But better yields is just one aspect of this farm’s success. These farmers are also restoring soil fertility, sequestering carbon and cultivating biodiversity.
As the couple explains on their website:
We believe that permaculture may be the "new software" that would allow us to transform our relationship to the Earth. The vision of permaculture proposes to put trees back at the heart of the system. We are convinced that trees will save the planet. We can create edible landscapes based on fruit trees and perennial plants around our homes, towns and villages, and change our diet by consuming fewer animal products, less cereals and more fruits...
More tree-based and living agriculture is good for both people and the earth, generates fertility, produces eco-building materials, biomass and firewood, and heals the climate by storing carbon in soils and trees.
In the “Trails of Regeneration” episode featuring their farm, Charles and Perrine walk viewers through the regenerative practices they use, and why. Charles shares their obsession with increasing soil fertility and sequestering carbon in the soil. Perrine explains how they try to use as little water as possible, describing the ponds throughout their property, how they are interconnected and why that matters.
You might wonder: What might the planet look like if all farmers and ranchers were as conscientious about stewarding their land as Charles and Perrine?
If the world’s food producers adopted a regenerative, rather than degenerative, production model, could we achieve the goal envisioned by these farmers in Normandy? Which is: “the necessary transformation of our civilization from an energy-consuming and globalized society, predatory and conquering, based on the accumulation of the wealth of the planet in the hands of a minority, to a socially supportive society, sober, saving energy and resources, but ensuring the essential goods for everyone.”
Let’s hope. And let’s, as consumers, support the farmers in our own communities and regions who share this vision for a Regeneration Revolution.
Stay tuned for the next episode of “Trials of Regeneration,” for more about Farm du Bec Hellouin, one of the most productive regenerative farming systems in the world.
Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a nonprofit grassroots consumer advocacy organization. Sign up here to keep up with news and alerts from OCA.