In our quest to learn more about eco-building and eco-construction in France, we have made several visits to the ecovillage in Verfeil-sur-Seye, Tarn-et-Garonne, France. The lovely habitants have taken us in as friends, and provided us with an insight into their communal life. Fun fact: It is thanks to this place and the people here that we found our own spot to live, not far away. It makes an excellent neighbour!
All the houses are constructed with wood, straw bale and cob (a mix of mud, straw, sand and water). The houses are facing the south to be energy-efficient. In winter the sun heats up the interior, and the walls give off warmth during the night. In summer the houses stay cool as long as you keep windows and doors shut in daytime, and leave them open during the night. Many have solar panels, and all have compost toilets. The village also has a communal hall with a kitchen, washing machine, outdoors showers and more compost toilets for guests and new inhabitants still in the process of building their houses.
Personally we are very fascinated by Alice’s house, which reminds us slightly of Annie’s house at Vispens Ecovillage. It is tricky to capture the atmosphere on photos, but when you enter a mudhouse, you get a sense of calmness, warmth and belonging. The walls breath, they keep the heat of the sun, and the sounds are mellow.
The permaculture garden
Daniel and Raquel run the gorgeous permaculture garden Le Jardin des Possibles. They produce vegetables for the whole ecovillage for an affordable price, as well as selling some surplus at a local market. Why not join them for a course to learn more?
Here are our photos of the garden taken last summer. Isn’t it beautiful?
The Forest Garden
Underneath you have a video the villagers have made to explain the creation of a forest garden at the Verfeil Ecovillage. It also presents all the inhabitants of the village, if you are curious to see how they look like 😉
If you’d like, you can learn more about their forest garden and make a contribution on helloasso – a site for voluntary associations here in France:
Thanks to Jean’s contribution to the Verfeil food forest, he is proud to have a tree named after him soon!