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

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The Bec Hellouin model for growing food, sequestering carbon, creating jobs, and increasing biodiversity without using fossil fuels

When Charles and Perrine Herve-Gruyer set out to create their farm in an historic Normandy village, they had no idea just how much their lives would change. Neither one had ever farmed before. Charles had been circumnavigating the globe by sail
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 23rd 2016 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published September 10th 2014)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  253 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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Adam Shand
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: permaculture
I loved this book but it’s not a how to book, it’s a story of a family learning to farm.

What I most enjoyed about this book was that it appealed to my sense of beauty and possibility in a way that other market gardening books haven’t. Like those books this is a description of a working farm, of people working the land to earn their living. Unlike those books this book won’t teach you how to farm, what it might do (and what it did for me) was rekindle the belief that earning a living from a farm
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Danni
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Miraculous Abundance is a call to action for the Western society to change it's ways when it comes to producing food. Focused on combining many of the elements of permaculture, organic gardening, Persian market gardens, and other small scale/traditional farming, the author encourages readers to think small. Small scale, microfarming like that happening at the author's farm provides a greater amount of food and soil health while still supporting full time labor.

I found the message hopeful and th
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Eva Arrhenius
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very inspiring but somewhat idealistic book. This is not a manual although I’m very interested in the upcoming manual as the few insights given are very interesting. It gives a new take on what the future could look like. You also get a good overview of other sources of information about permaculture sustainable farming organic growing and locally sourced food. It’s definitely food for thought.
Jason Herrington
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a lawyer & sailor, who became psychotherapists & then became market gardeners. Yep, that’s actually their career paths. They tell how they came to be gardeners & then work through some of the aspects of their garden farm from the forest garden to aquaculture to fruits/berries. If you are interested in farming/gardening then I think you’d find this fascinating since they touch on so many different approaches. One interesting piece is that they are working to prove that a fami ...more
Victoria Grace
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: analog
A pleasure to read, with optimistic and beautiful ideas for the upcoming climate apocalypse. It's arranged in a scattershot manner, but there were lots of little asides and half-ideas that made me think "I want to try that!" which is the point of reading farming books, anyway. ...more
Jessica
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: farming, gardening
Perrine and Charles Herve-Gruyer both had successful careers, but wanted to spend their days closer to the land. They were also concerned about where their food came from, so they decided to become farmers. Through trial and error they transform a small piece of land in France into a wildly productive food business. This book explores their farming philosophy and some of the the issues they've encountered and overcome. My main complaint about the book is that it's not a straightforward story of ...more
Laurie
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book slowly over many weeks, mostly in the evenings before bed. And each return to the book brought me a step closer to imagining and envisioning the next place that my husband and I decide to live. We will move; that is a given. And we will take with us our desire to garden.

In our current location, we grow tomatoes on our deck in Earth boxes; the deer and other suburban animals would raid our garden otherwise. Indeed, due to it being a dry summer, the squirrels - for the first time
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Leif
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
What are you getting into? Miraculous Abundance is less a book of instructional material and more a plea for accompaniment and story of trials and successes. It's a quite strikingly nerveless and beautiful book that entertains the history and practice of permaculture, microfarming, and biomaterials. There are dashes of exoticism here and there, which are a little moony, but more foundational is the actual practice of small-farming for market production.

On top of the subject matter, Hervé-Gruyer
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Dee
May 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don't know if it was a translation problem or what, but I had trouble with this book. I wish it had been easier to read. I kept waiting for the authors to explain and show their system for their wonderful garden. Instead, it felt like a history of different types of intensive farming. ...more
Josie
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: agriculture, france
The agricultural side was interesting, and I'm glad this project/farm exists, but I didn't find the organization of the book to be well done. ...more
Kurt Achin
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am on a life tangent, perhaps a permanent life reboot, in the direction of regenerative/organic farming. What started as a late-in-life desire to do something that makes sense globally and delivers meaning and fulfilment to me personally has been rendered into sharper focus via the body of literature by intellectual agrarians who wield distilled truth in the simple language of the farm. Wendell Berry, Gene Logsdon, and other old school farmer/authors have produced a canon of farmer literature ...more
David Rudin
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
With a lot of Chutzpah, this French husband and wife team created their own world on a small farm in Normandy. This book is not a how-to book but rather a manifesto for the alternative agriculture/permaculture world. Perhaps their greatest contribution is in motivating others, as in the following advice:
"So prepare your project meticulously. Give yourself time—several years. Move ahead gradually. Start by cultivating a garden, putting yourself in the skin of the professional you aspire to become
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Brandi
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another permaculture + gardening book I ended up adding to my permanent shelf of food-growing resources. It took me a few months to finish this well-researched and well-written tale because I was taking notes and rethinking my own home gardening methods. Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer tell an honest tale of what it was like to transform a patch of land in the French countryside into a highly productive farm using biointensive methods and without reliance on fossil fuels--including their failur ...more
Moe
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manifesto not method

This lengthy book is a manifesto, and a lifestory. Inspirational, interesting and raises questions as well as answers. I was disappointed at first when I began, and realised it was not a practical book. However, I'm glad icarried on as it is truly a great read.
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Dan Laubach
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Good book to introduce readers to the world of small farm organic farming. The last 1/3 of the book actually made me quite sad. The authors use that section to describe a beautiful vision of what they think the world could be like. And it made me sad to fall in love with their vision but then think it will never actually happen.
Cathy
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great concept, well executed, but not very fully explained

The Farm at Bec Hellouin is just the kind d of farming we need more of-- ecologically friendly, intensive methods. This book does not go very far in describing the methods, however. We must await the next book for that.
Meggers222
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Permaculture primer that is as much a great story as it is a how-to primer
Luta
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Poorly written. Great ideas and implementation.
Lisa Kay
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I was looking for more practical and less theoretical application of farming/gardening. It did help me get a better understanding of permaculture though.
Veronika Bond
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful and inspiring book!
Robin Joensuu
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly inspiring.
Katri Manninen
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring and visionary.
Amy
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Not the most readable book but interesting ideas in many places.
Kara
Sep 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I was hoping for more how and less sermon
Sam DeSocio
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: agrarian, 2017
A good book following the life and thoughts of the Herve-Guyer families as they work on their Microfarm.
Correen
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing

It took awhile to start but then what a fascinating read! Perrin and Charles Herve-Gruyer built and have continued to operate a micro-farm in France using a permaculture method that allowed to start poor soil and develop it into a market enterprise. They started with a quarter of an acre and have grown but now beyond their ability to farm it using no motorized machinery. They are now highly successful, provide produce for famous restaurants, sell products in their farm store, and fill regular bo
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bibliotekker Holman
Again, I only read a portion of this fine book since I've read many "how we did it" living off the land books like this before. The difference being that this one is set in France and offers the unique lens that affords. A good read. If you haven't read one like this before, this is a good one to start with. ...more
Paige
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is an amazing guide to bio-dynamic farming and permaculture! While most of the book is scientific, the authors (a married couple from France) tell the story of how they created their biodynamic farm. Truly a wonderful book! Also includes photos of their farm, garden layouts, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed this and have bought my own copy.
Jess
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting and inspiring for anyone dipping into permaculture.
Emily
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Not really very informative in the practical sense - more theory.
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