Owner & Co-founder
I’ve always been a passionate of nature and of all the wonders it offers us. I grew up on a dairy farm in Québec, Canada, where I learned a lot about agriculture, keeping animals, and the hard work that these activities often entail. One of my favorite memories of that time is waking up at 4 o’clock every morning and, in summer, walking through the fields while enjoying the first light of dawn in complete silence except for my footsteps and the robins. This was a time I had all to myself to think and feel.
Eventually I went on to study biology and ecology at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, where I met my wife Hannah who was doing a year exchange from Germany. I thus continued my studies, publishing scientific papers in every step of the way and travelling a lot to see Hannah as much as I could. In 2012 I got a Master degree in plant ecology at the University of Sherbrooke in collaboration with the University of Jena in Germany. In 2016 I obtained a PhD in ecology and ecosystems again from the University of Sherbrooke, as well as from the University of Montpellier, France.
But after nearly 10 years in the academic world, I felt far away from my roots as a farmer and I wanted to explore direct ways to use the great amount of knowledge I had aquired those last years to make a better world. Indeed, I became ever more aware of how we often mistreat nature and how this treatment is detrimental to plants and animals around us but also to ourselves and I was looking for a very practical and down-to-earth way to use my talents and competence.
In permaculture I found a way to merge my roots with my academic path and even better, I found a way to help people live with a higher quality of life while benefitting everything around them. So after co-founding the ReBeCa project in 2016, I successfully completed a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course in 2017 and I co-founded this permaculture design office with my wife in the hope that we can share with all of you the wonders of nature that amaze us so much and render our lives more beautiful.
Exploring nature since I started to crawl around in my parent’s big garden, I spent most of my childhood outside observing the little life between bushes and flowers, rescueing small animals, and, oddly enough, collecting (and setting free again) snails for whose colourful houses and smooth movements I had a vivid fascination. Later on this fascination turned more to plants, leading to a large collection of seeds from far away places, which were then nursed to beautiful plants.
The path for a future biologist was set, and in 2005 I started my studies in biology (focus ecology) at the University of Osnabrück, during which I spent one exciting year abroad at the french-speaking University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, where I also met my husband Jessy. After my graduation in 2011, I continued with a doctorate at the University of Oldenburg on the topic of tree regeneration at the alpine treeline, which allowed me to spend three adventurous summers in the wonderful scenery of the French Alps.
During these years I realized however that I was actually searching for a way to engage with the natural world in a rather creative and intuitive way, to see and to feel the larger picture, the connectiveness of all things, and apply this in a work that reaches people directly. That is when I first learned about permaculture, and it was quickly clear to me that this self-evident approach of cooperation with nature would become an important part of my life.
Today I am indeed the creative and intuitive part of our business, and it’s a great pleasure for me to help people and their land towards their true potential of diversity and abundance. Also, I had the great opportunity of being offered the executive position of the local non-profit association for environmental education EBI. This connects wonderfully with our permaculture work and I’m excited to see what possibilities will develop here in the coming years!
- Integral garden and
Married since 2012, we now live in a self-organized residential community located in Ebertsheim, south-western Germany, which revives the structures and grounds of an old paper mill since 1985 (http://www.alte-papierfabrik.de/). Including about 3.5ha of cultivated and natural landscape, as well as different educational, social and cultural associations (EBI, HBS, Kulturinitiative, LAG), this was the perfect place to found our business! Here we develop permaculture projects and experiments and will offer courses and events about ecological gardening and land use techniques. As plant ecologists, the specific strength of our permaculture designs resides in our plant knowledge, whether we use them to "read" the landscape or to develop a plant list adapted to each particular locality and in accordance with our clients’ needs.
In the course of our projects, we have assembled a plant data base including information about their medicinal properties, their value to bees, their growth requirements, and other key functions and requirements. This work is still in progress (it never ends!) counting a diverse list of over 600 species so far. The worth of this work is that, for different types of habitat (dry, wet, hot, cool, fertile, poor, etc.), we can quickly access a potential plant community that fits the conditions of a given project.