Lierlou & the Village
A story about how to built a village community around a regenerative farm
Titiane & Anna
30 different vegetables
Titianes and Annas farm project »Lierlou & the village« is located in Balaguier-D’Olt, France.
Wild plants and a strong community
Titiane and Anna’s journey started about one and a half years ago, when they got invited by a former professor and friend from Schumacher College who had lived in Balaguier-D’Olt for 10 years.
They planned to stay in the small village, which is around 2 hours north of Toulouse, for one week with their fellow students and professor. Eventually, Titiane and Anna’s visit lead to a bigger project.
Both of them had previously developed a deeper interest for certain aspects of consumable plants: Titiane had worked on different farms and gardens before and arrived at the village with a deep curiosity in wild plants. Anna had managed a little restaurant in Tel Aviv, where she developed a deeper interest in local food and how it can be an expression of the land it had been grown on.
The longer they stayed, the more they got in touch with the locals. They arranged a series of dinners at – what they described as – »a moving restaurant with wild lunches and dinners«. This experience not only gave them the chance to get to know the area and it’s wild plants and herbs which they used for creating their meals. But as well gave them an opportunity to exchange thoughts and advices with the locals.
Eventually, they got introduced to a land-owner, who was happy to offer them a piece of land that he hadn’t used in 8 years. The strong bond with the locals developed further and evolved into a community that is now part of their project.
With little steps, they want to create a system that can take care of itself – like a food forest. In doing so, they want to make use of that wild plants that are already growing in and around their vegetable patches.
How do they contribute to a better climate?
Lots of compost
No dig but lots of compost. Upon arriving on the piece of land we prepared our vegetable patches without tilting the soil. Instead we spread compost and organic matter on the ground and let it rest over winter. The result is a wonderful rich, alive and moist soil that is having a life on its own. The carbon in leafs, crop stubble and humus stays thus right in our soil.
On our 1,5 hectares of land, we plant trees and help existing trees grow, steward the land and the wild edibles. Planting trees plays such an important role in carbon farming, as they store carbon in their wood and roots, thereby producing healthy and diverse fruits and nuts.
No naked soil
Our soil never lays bare and naked: we either grow food or plant a cover crop that nourishes the ground and enriches the soil diversity. The extensive root system of our cover crops composts in the ground and thus adds organic matter that captures carbon in the soil.
What else is going on on the farm?
A dedication to learning
Ongoing learning and inquiring: we got to know each other at Schumacher College, a learning community in the UK where we learned with our hands, heart and head. The love to inquire remained and now work with with a group of international researchers and ecologically oriented projects under a Community Action Research approach.
Local community hub
We are building a community hub for our region. We are planning to renovate an empty house for hosting visitors, concerts, pottery courses and workshops in collaboration with our neighbors, and install a carpentry workshop and a library for our community. We want to help the local economy flourish and create new opportunities in the countryside
Foraging hikes are coming soon! Currently we are exploring hiking paths and picnic spots to soon host one-day and several day treks in which we will introduce wild edibles, taste them in gourmet picnics and cook with foraged food on open fire.