French farmhouse free to the right low-impacter (roofing skills would be a bonus)

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Posted Sep 6 2014 by Dave Darby of Lowimpact.org
French farmhouse

We are in contact with an English man who has a French property but will no longer be able to live there. He’s happy to give it away to someone who will turn it into the kind of eco-home / low-impact smallholding that he intended. If this might be you, then contact us – include your interests, skills, what you would do with the property, and why you are the right person to have it. We will filter and pass on likely candidates to him. This is his story.

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I been a passionate supporter of low-impact living for a number of years. I’ve been working for ages to get a low-impact project in south-west France up and running (more details below). The aim was to live there and convert the 3 acres from chemically farmed to organic production, establish a permaculture system. and restore the small farmhouse; obviously using low-impact methods. Once established I wanted to work in partnership with Lowimpact.org to provide training and support to the growing number of people who want to explore low-impact living and all the benefits it entails. Just as I was beginning to prepare to leave for France I was diagnosed with a terminal illness that now means I’ll never get to fulfil my dream. Unless…

I know that this beautiful project can still happen; and the benefits to people and the environment can still be realised if I hand the project over, lock, stock, and barrel to kindred spirits who share my passion, goals and commitment to Low-impact living. This would be a gift, without strings, and you would only have to pay legal costs etc. You would also need a love of hard work, and have or be developing the necessary skills. Lowimpact.org and I can help with some of that.

I therefore invite anyone interested to contact Lowimpact.org with their ideas, proposals, questions or comments and we’ll take it from there. I need to satisfy myself that I’m not dealing with money-grabbing speculators. After that, Lowimpact.org will put candidates in contact with me and you can phone, email, and eventually meet. You wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with my health by looking at me and I’m happy, creative and full of energy at the moment so will be easy to deal with. While I can I may even pop over to France, if invited, to help with the work as a WWOOFER!

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more details

The place is situated in Aveyron, in the Midi-Pyrenees region, close to its southern border with the Tarn. The site is 1.37 ha of arable land, currently used for growing wheat and the farmhouse is guestimated to be from about 1850. Empty for about 40 years the house is in need of complete renovation (the roof is intact but will need replacing) and verbal permission was given by the local Mayor to extend the footprint by 60 mtrs. This and other details can be agreed by having a chat to the very amiable Mayor and formal permission should be no problem. This is a rural farming area but is close to various areas of outstanding natural beauty. It’s about 70 miles from the Mediterranean as the crow flies; 50-ish from the Massif Central; less than an hour by vehicle or train to Toulouse, and a maybe a quarter of a mile from a village of about 900 people (across a road that filters any traffic away from the site so it’s perfectly peaceful).

There are no services at all on the site but then if you want all mod cons straight away this is not for you. The owner (our contact) planned to install composting toilets, a PV system, methane digester, and possibly a wind turbine. There is a well adjoining the house and, of course, you can also harvest rainwater. He also intended to establishdeep beds, small orchard and so on. With hard work and vision this can be made into a perfect little smallholding and a very nice home.