A few kilometres down the road from Coupiac, a small village with one bar, one shop and a chateau, organic farm Lapaloup sits on a hill with a view of the rural Aveyron countryside.
Dutch couple Jean-Lou and Rosette own the farm, and it’s also home to a handful of friends and people who have come to take part in farm life. At the moment there are six of us; Jean-Lou hopes to build a community here to live off of the land, and has plans for renewable energy and eco-building projects to teach people how to go away and do it themselves.
The farm is fully organic, with AB (Agriculture Bio, the French standard) certification as well as Natur&Progres (stricter rules). Around twenty hairy Highland cattle occupy some large fields and a wood, and other fields are used to grow wheat – including ‘ancienne’ varieties – which Jean-Lou grinds down to flour and uses to bake sourdough bread, sold in local shops and the weekly market at St. Affrique. Jean-Lou thinks French bread isn’t that great (‘by dinnertime you break your teeth!’); his bread is dense and chewy, and won’t go stale in a day.
We’ve started work on a new building project – a cob house for future volunteers to stay in. In the three weeks we’ve been here, we – with another Wwoofer Guillaume, and Lionel, farm resident for the past couple of months – have cleared the area, done some levelling, and dug out the foundations.
It’s tough work, but I can proudly say I know how to pickaxe now (for about five minutes…shovelling is more my thing). The idea for it’s construction is really interesting – it will have straw bale walls and a ‘green’ roof (ie. growing) – we’ll hopefully post more info later.
Other jobs include watering the vegetable plot every evening, scything grass from around the wheat fields and picking fruit for Rosette to make jams. Donat has come in pretty useful fixing people’s computers, as he does.
We’re moving on in just a few days as we have a commitment at a farm back in the Auvergne, but might well be back later in the Autumn, to help with the house project and eat some more of Jean-Lou’s bread.