Written by: Sacha Guégan (Sylva Institute), François Léger (UMR SADAPT), Gauthier Chapelle
(Biomimicry Europa) & Charles Hervé-Gruyer (Ferme du Bec Hellouin and Sylva Institute)
Ferme biologique du Bec Hellouin
1, sente du Moulin au Cat
27800 LE BEC HELLOUIN
02 32 44 50 57 – www.fermedubec.com
Status Report # 2
In December 2011 a study of 3 years started at the Organic farm Bec Hellouin, to assess the possibility of creating a full -time activity by cultivating 1,000 m2 employing a permacultural organic market gardening approach.
The principles that guide the implemented production methods form what has been called “the method of Farm Bec Hellouin”, available on the Farm website. These methods include in particular:
– Cultivating a small surface area;
– The virtual absence of mechanization of labor, interventions being made mostly manually;
– The intensification of production on said surface area;
– All on a site created by drawing on permaculture principles, principles that could lead to the creation of very diverse places.
Halfway through the study, it seemed important to analyze the data collected by us, in order to identify initial lessons. Emphasis was placed on the analysis of the results for the workload and turnover, as these are two important data with regard to the creation of an economic activity. From this point of view, the results presented in this report are very encouraging.
Finally, for this stage, it seemed interesting to compare four perspectives: the views of the scientific director of the study, François LEGER ; the engineer in charge of field control, Sacha GUEGAN ; a member of the Scientific Committee, Gauthier Chapelle ; and the head gardener in the study taking place, Charles Hervé-Gruyer.
Industries like farming and agriculture provide more than just food, income, and a sustainable economy for the area that it is settled in. They provide a sense of community and strength that maybe one never really expected them to evoke. Ever seen an advertisement for tractors and see some farmers looking rather muscular and well toned? Those who have seen these men and women in magazines and have worked in the fields can tell that it is one fantastic workout! And you know what? It didn’t cost them a $40 monthly gym membership, but it did strengthen their bodies, minds, and communities.
Working to build muscle in a closed room with standard machinery built specifically to work the muscles you did not even know you had may be the way to go for city-slickers and busy-bodies. But men and women who work solely in the industry of providing us with food and supplies can obtain killer bods with daily labor. Real world strength is gaining popularity not just because of it’s cost efficiency, but because of its practical use. An article from 2010 in the Chicago Tribune emphasized how people can gain serious muscle and physical strength by using traditional pragmatic farming techniques. For example, hauling hay bails can work your abs as a substitute for weighted squats and putting up fence is a good way to exercise biceps by the constant motion and tension. Working hard in a farming community is the perfect way to implement a daily workout. Not only does it sustain your physical health, but can provide innovative tools and techniques to use daily.
I was keynote speaker for World Environmental Day at the University of Melbourne. Below I have posted the transcript of my talk:
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for that introduction, Professor Kvan, and thank you all for being here to mark World Environment Day.
It was Buckminster Fuller who once said: ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’
This approach to social transformation essentially expresses the idea that examples are powerful; that examples can send ripples through culture further than we might ever think possible, creating cultural currents, that can turn into subcultures, that sometimes explode into social movements and which, on very rare occasions, can spark a revolution in consciousness that changes the world. In age when it can sometimes seem like there is no alternative to the carbon-intensive, consumer way of life, being exposed to a real-world example of a new way of living and being has the potential to expand and radicalise the ecological imagination. In those moments when we are able to break through the crust of conventional thinking we see, all at once, that the world as it is, is not how the world has to be.
For all of the growing and eating of fresh produce most of us do, or aspire to do, condiments often survive our purging of processed and problematic foods. Ironically, many of us are growing the exact ingredients we need to make our own homespun condiments, free of food industry chemicals and additives but stocked with real nutritional value and flavor.
Plus, once the basics are in motion, it’s possible to start playing, making funky varieties like sweet beet ketchup, honey-basil mustard, spicy pepper mayo or creamy avocado salad dressing. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, first we need to get some basic recipes under our belts, kick the old Heinz habit, and move into one more element of self-sufficiency without giving up our favorite condiments.
Courtesy of Youtube, we would like to share with you a video by Eco Oasis
I will start with my favorite quote “I Love Bananas”. They are so versatile and can add so much to the farm and kitchen. We love them, our animals love them and I bet you do to! Here are some tips for you on how to harvest bananas in the healthiest way for the future of your plant. Stay tuned for our next video on Banana plant maintenance. Thanks so much for helping us spread permaculture across the planet and please SHARE and help make our world a better place.
As waste management evolves through awareness among general public, efforts within the industry, and waste management becoming not just an environmental concern but a political and strategic apprehension too, the industry grows with advancement and innovation. Innovation gave birth to revolutionary and self-sustaining ideas within the industry, which earlier focused on basic waste management is now growing in ways of maximum utilization and management of waste. The dynamics of the industry focus more on ethics of sustainability of life and the planet itself. In the past few years, after the waste management becomes a matter of political significance, strategies and agendas were particularly devised to address the issue. Seeing this, the industry has responded with more innovative and advanced ideas to disposition of waste in an environmental friendly method.
Lets face it container gardening is a great, practical gardening technique with multiple functions. Not only is it good for renters and city dwellers who have limited space and no permission to garden from their landlords, it is an ideal technique when there may be lead contamination. Considering that lead was legally used in paints up until the 1970’s, if your home was built before then chances are you have high levels of lead in your soil. To make matters worse the lead is typically concentrated right around the edges of your house where paint was scraped, this is often the best place to put your zone 1 kitchen and herb gardens. The good news is container gardens are a cost effective solution to potential lead contamination that is easy on the back to plant and easy to weed. One of the downsides of this technique is that they can dry out quicker than beds in the ground, needing to be watered more often.
I have found the traditional, low cost and low tech irrigation system, the ol-la, to be a perfect solution for irrigating container gardens. The olla is an unglazed ceramic pot, that is buried in the bed, and filled with water. Be-cause it is not glazed the water is able to slowly sink into the container. When the plant needs water, it uses capillary action and pulls the water out of the olla and into its root system. Since the olla is buried in the container it sends water to the subsurface leaving the top layer of the soil dry, thus discouraging weeds and soil compaction which are two downsides to surface watering.
We are nearing the deadline of our Vanuatu fundraiser (less than one day!) and to give things a boost we decided to auction 3 PDC courses on Ebay! The courses will be taught by Tom Kendall of PRI Sunshine Coast, in Luganville, Vanuatu in 2016 and bidding starts at $750, or Buy It Now is $1500!
We are very close to the target and need your help!
That is well below standard prices and it may appeal to your friends or family that have been wanting to do a PDC but have yet to get around to it. Please forward these links to those people you think may benefit, or if you haven’t done a PDC yet, now is your chance to do it at a great price and help the people of Vanuatu in the process! Auctions will finish in 4 days.
For more about this site, the plans for it’s development and to learn about the people this will assist, please read on.
Vision for the future:
The idea is to establish the demonstration site with as little dependency on cash injections as possible. To keep this project sustainable it needs to be self-funded (by running PDC’s and other courses) and independent – using locally available resources and skills.
We aim to have the project managed by locals within 3 years, handing over the managing of the site and courses, whilst continuing to oversee, advise and support as needed.
‘We aim to show them that they have such wonderful traditions and such an abundant natural environment, that they will be able to support that abundance by learning how to work with nature in the Permaculture way.’ Zaia Kendall
Medicinal mushrooms have a restorative effect on humans and the land. Mushrooms have a profound ability to boost the immune system, fight cancers, and improve functioning of important organs. They also help to rehabilitate damaged and polluted environments. If used in a farm or permaculture system, the mushrooms can improve the health of the owner and the land.
These five species of mushrooms help balance and heal the human body and the ecosystem.
Guide for selecting the best Australian suited flowers and plants to benefit the bees, pollinators and your garden.
Flowers across Melbourne has put together a very detailed piece about the benefits and drawbacks to different types of plants/ flowers and herbs for Bees. This is a very informative read and we thank Flowers across Melbourne for allowing us to share it. Please visit their site here, they have quite a number of well written articles.
Bees are hardworking and often underappreciated just like you and me right!
So we have decided to make life a little easier for our fuzzy friends by planting in our own gardens a few of their favorite flowers and hopefully you will too.
Without the Aussie native bees or introduced honeybees we wouldn’t have a flower industry, let alone life as we know it. Australia is one of the top ten honey producing countries in the world; honeybees are essential to both the agricultural and horticultural segments of the flower industry thanks to their pollination services, not to mention the raw flavored and unflavored honeys, royal jelly and pollen. Urban environments also benefit from their activities. Planting bee forages for honeybee nutrition can offer major benefits to the industry and to society as a whole. Although Australia’s existing resource of flora is plentiful and well-suited to the needs of the honeybee industry, its future is precarious.
Did you know that Australia has over 1,500 species of native bee which are non-aggressive and some of them do not even sting! And there are over 25,000 species of bee worldwide with new ones being recognized every day. If you would like to see more of our native bees out and about then check out the native bee section at the end of this post.
For all these reasons gardeners from Brisbane to Perth and everywhere in between will plant perennial pastures and bee forages. So do farmers and municipalities. The following guide is designed to teach you about some of the best Australian suited flowers that will attract and keep the Aussie bees happy in your gardens. Before diving right in, there are several essential things you should know when designing and cultivating your own bee garden. Whether you’re planning an herb garden, formal garden, or low-maintenance plot with herb borders follow the following tips for success.
Tom Kendall from the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast talks about planting into an existing zone in a rainforest environment on his Permaculture Demonstration Site Maungaraeeda.
Tom runs Permaculture Design Certificate and 8 week Practical courses as well as Certificate and Diploma courses in Kin Kin in the Noosa Hinterland on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. He and his wife Zaia are also in the process of setting up the Permaculture Research Institute Luganville, Vanuatu, to help local people manage their abundant natural resources in a Permaculture way.