Extending the network, building community, restoring balance one connection at a time.
We are a husband and wife team of +22 years starting a new life in rural France. We been fortunate to live and work in many different countries, but for some time we have felt disillusioned with the world around us. We've seen and continue to learn more about the ways our planet is being exploited and polluted by industries in the pursuit of profits and market share. Thriving natural landscapes are being raped of precious resources. The drive for globalisation (bigger is better), consumerism (buy this to be happy), centralised control systems, the restriction of information, fake news, governments working together to instil fear to the masses, and our banks and leading corporations lying to gain profits and power for themselves. There is an imbalance of wealth. Good, honest, hard working people are drowning in debt, feeling confused and hopeless, and becoming sick with the pressures and stresses of daily life creating 'Dis-ease'. We could go on and on, but we know we are not alone when we say we are fed up with the world system. The way the world is being manipulated for the benefit of a privileged few is disharmonious with natural systems.
And then there was Covid-19. . .
What covid did for us was give us some precious time to stop and revaluate what is most important to us and what is not. The way the whole world is literally being shaken to its core over the pandemic means we have an opportunity to learn from this experience. We felt that life as we know it was unravelling. We sadly lost beloved members of our family during this time. For us it was a wake up call and the time impressed upon us the important of taking action towards living the change we wish to see with the world. We do not wish to return to ’normality’, to how things were for us pre Covid-19. We want to step forward and create new ways of showing up in the world, and make positive changes to elements of life that we value. To live the change with integrity. As Mahatma Gandhi so rightly said "In a gentle way you can shake the world".
We had hoped for some time to relocate to rural France and become active members of the regenerative movement. This became a reality for us once things started to open up after the first lockdown. We seized the opportunity to travel and after months of searching we found the Moulin. The Moulin is situated in a beautiful tranquil valley on the outskirts of Vayres in dept 87. Surrounded by water, with the river Vayres on one side, and a short canal and pond to service the Mill on the other. The site has been a working Mill since pre-Napoleonic times but over the past 25 years has been quietly sleeping. We are under no illusion that the Mill is a huge project that will take us years to fulfil, but we were inspired to jump in and bring new energy and vigour to these long-neglected buildings and it's surrounding land.
We started in 2020 by renovating the main house as a home for ourselves, and this will continue to be an ongoing project. From April 2021 we turned our attention to the land and began by creating a small-scale market garden, in order to grow vegetables for ourselves and the local community. We are Permaculture Certified Designers and No-Dig enthusiast's, so our plans are to re-introduce more bio-diversity back to the land, and alongside growing produce we will also offer workshops and classes throughout the year to teach and inspire others to come and visit us here to see first hand practical examples of how to create a productive vegetable garden using the No-Dig methodology. From the beginning of 2022 we introduced micro-greens to our product range. We are very passionate about eating nutrient dense foods and so micro-greens are the perfect product for us. We have a wonderful indoor vertical growing space, where we are now able to supply local restaurants, private chefs, shops and our local community with fresh and very tasty micro-greens all year round.
A future desire is also to set up a Food Forest where we can also provide a safe haven for endangered medicinal plants and add edible flowers to our product range.
La Ferme du Moulin des Monts is our home, a place of inspiration for us, and a space to empower people through information and long term practical and resourceful solutions on growing great food.
We have learned so much in the last decade and are continually surprised by the lack of awareness and understanding among so many in environmental issues, conscious consumerism, and preventative health and well-being. We have a combined teaching experience of 30+ years worldwide and are passionate about doing 'our bit' to make a difference with this beautiful planet we all call home, for us, our local community and for future generations to follow.
MEET THE TEAM
"I've been a hands-on creative type all my life. I simply enjoy making stuff. I love taking, and processing, photographs. DIY projects are fulfilling. Gardening is highly rewarding, and I find cooking a delicious joy. My first paid job was an industrial photographers assistant. My photography became a paying hobby. Then it became freelance work, finally evolving into semi-professional work with magazines, fashion designers, event organisers, interior designers, and art galleries in Hong Kong. I even shot a lovely wedding in Bali. My last full-time job in a professional role was as General Manager of a large distribution centre in Hong Kong, after 25 years in the express freight industry in Dubai, Europe and Australia. Meh!
In Hong Kong, between 2009 and 2014, I became aware of the unhealthy lifestyles we can be forced into by societal demands. I began to look more closely at the food I was eating, my buying decisions, and the stress-inducing existence I had fallen into. My findings about the food industry shocked and angered me. My trust in them to provide healthy nutritious food was shattered. The more I learned about the industries we were dependent upon the more I became disillusioned with the world. Increasingly angry and rebellious, my professional work suffered. So in 2015 I left Hong Kong after 5 ½ years to pursue a more meaningful and fulfilling life with a commitment to learn the skills I would need to achieve to meet my new goal of creating a more positive, fulfilling, and healthier life through my work, actions, and decisions. I've always been environmentally conscious but work, and play always got in my way of taking any action. Since 2015 I've become increasingly passionate about nutrition and its effect on mental health, exercise, recycling, composting, soil health, self-reliance, and the preservation and regeneration of the natural environment."
In November 2019 David attended Charles Dowding's, 'No Dig Market Garden intensive course'. In 2020 David qualified in Permaculture Design and his aim is to extend the techniques, principles, and benefits of Permaculture Design, and No Dig gardening, into the community. Through practical demonstration David aims to share this important knowledge. David plans to show like-minded people effective, fulfilling practices in growing and eating healthy food, that they can then bring into their daily routines in the hope that they can share this with their communities through an organic process of growth.
“I am passionate about health, well-being, self-reliance, and living in balance and harmony with nature. Since my time living on this planet the earth's eco-systems has been declining and it's bio-diversity reducing, I have become more intuitively aware of crafting a life of meaning and purpose in order to align with natural systems. To listen to my inner-wisdom, to connect with & learn from nature, and the importance of listening to my body and eating healthy. Nutrient dense food is the main prevent-or of de-generative disease, it’s a preventative form of health care. Suppressing symptoms by chemical means does not address the root of the problem. I am inspired to encourage and empower people to reconnect with their health. It is health that is real wealth. Discovering Permaculture has helped me to join all the dots, to align my passions, and give me a stable, sustainable framework to help guide others to consciously create more balance and freedom in their lives.”
Tracey has over two decades of teaching experience traveling extensively worldwide. Her adventures have taken her all over the planet, where she has trained with leading masters in different forms of yoga, martial arts, meditation, and dance movement therapy. She has worked closely with 'Champneys UK' and the award winning 'Kamalaya Wellness Resort & Sanctuary' in Thailand. Tracey is a Yoga Alliance RYS 200h Ashtanga & Vinyasa Flow teacher, taught by Yogacharya Lalit Kumar in India. The yoga lineage is from the Himalayan tradition of the great Swamis. Since 2009 Tracey has hosted multiple wellness retreats throughout Europe and Asia, and designed and owned an online yoga/ clothing brand produced in Bali. This experience then lead her on to operating a successful Wellness Retreat Centre with David in Ibiza in 2014.
In 2017 Tracey & David returned to England to jointly manage a large private country estate in Dorset. Responsible for all aspects of the operations, renovations, building and grounds maintenance, and garden design. Tracey is a Certified Interior Designer and a Permaculture Designer after completing the PDC in 2020 with Permaculture Kernow.
For more information on my Yoga & Meditation classes please click here to visit my website.
The newest member of the team is the loveable Alfie. He is a very happy black and grey Miniature Schnauzer, born in September 2021. He doesn't have much experience of working on a farm or in a no-dig market garden but he is a fast learner and absolutely adores his micro-greens and veggies. He loves being outdoors and is very happy to help (?) out with any job that needs doing.
When everyone goes right Alfie will go left, he's certainly independent, forward thinking and totally adorable. We are so happy to welcome Alfie to Moulin des Monts, the place just wouldn't be the same without this cheeky chappie.