Les Sourciers - Hydroponic Farming in France

Les Sourciers 12 steps to become an urban or vertical farmer

The pioneers

Les Sourciers are Marion Sourdois and Nicolas Sarlé, a Franco-Argentinian couple passionate about hydroponics and changing the food system. They’re the perfect example of the saying: “To change the world, start by changing yourself”.

After some bold decisions they transformed from a cramped rat-race into a life of fulfillment through farming. And now they are the most loved farming couple in the whole of France.

Against all odds

Against all odds and advice, Marion en Nicolas followed their dreams. In 2013, Les Sourciers started up their first hydroponic greenhouse for educational purposes in Gers. As you will find out in their 12 steps story, their business is profitable by selling food, the educational part is a nice extra.

The video on the right tells you their attitude about following their dreams. It’s simple, yet never easy!

The story of Les Sourciers - part 1

Les Sourciers are small producers that grow a variety of more than 60 rare and original plants on only 600m2. They sell these quality products to the great gastronomic restaurants of the Gers and surrounding areas.

Learn about the 12 steps they undertook to transform their vision into reality, check part 1 on the left

The story of Les Sourciers - part 2

And there’s more!!

More info on Hydroponics

Hydroponics is old, very old. It was already used by the Incas, the Aztecs and in the famous hanging gardens of Babylon.

The principle is simple.

Plant have to work hard to get the nutrients out of the water in the soil. With hydroponics you allow the plants to easier access the nutrients and hence, grow faster. This is done by replacing the soil with another substrate, or even no substrate (just water indeed).

It is important to have all the minerals, the right pH and enough oxygen. The roots float with happiness in this water where they can feed easily on the ions put at their disposal. A hydroponics systems usually works in a closed circuit and is therefore much more water efficient.

Find more info on hydroponics via the open-source website: Vertical Farming Academy by the Association for Vertical Farming.

Some facts about Hydrophonics

What is special about the hydroponic system used by Les Sourciers 

  1. Thanks to the closed circuit, Les Sourciers save up to 95% of water compared to traditional farming in soil.
  2. Les Sourciers constantly check that their plants have enough to eat, that oxygen is sufficient, that the PH is ideal for the good absorption of nutrients. They give the plant exactly what it needs for a proper development.
  3. This last point makes their plants absolutely delicious, if you are sceptic, just go and dp a tour in their greenhouse. Les Sourciers will make you taste their products and change the enormous prejudice that the hydroponics produces vegetables without flavor.
  4. Soil protection: the entire nutrient solution is absorbed, nothing is lost in the soil, so there is no risk of pollution of the groundwater.
  5. Les Sourciers do not use herbicides, it’s obvious! No land, no weeds!
  6. As part of their project, they do not use any pesticides. This is fairly easy because their plants grow fast and healthy, and are therefore more resistant to pests attacks.
  7. Hydroponics makes it possible to control several factors which are impossible to control in soil. Without deficiencies, the plant can express its complete genetic potential. It is also a great revelation for medicinal plants because the active ingredients of plants grown in hydroponics are much more concentrated than on the same plant that has grown in soil.

Hydroponics, when properly used, completely changes the way we grow plants, it is an experiment that we must try, see and especially taste.

So What's the catch?

Hydroponics has been around for a long time now. Yet, there are still some challenges every hydroponic farmers has to keep in mind.

  1. It is more expensive to build a hydroponic system then to simply put a seed in the soil. It’s important to calculate if the benefits of hydroponics weigh up against the initial investment of your system. The fact that hydroponics keeps on gaining popularity with professional growers should answer this question for you!
  2. It requires experience and knowledge. Hydroponics requires a better understanding of plants and technology. Yet isn’t that what makes life more fun?
  3. What happens when there’s no electricity? How bad this will affect your crops depends on the different systems that are being used. The system of Les Sourciers can easily go 24h without electricity with not much harm done. Moreover, most growers are prepared for a power failure with a decent back up system.
  4. Without soil acting as a buffer, mistakes and system malfunctions affect plants faster.
  5. Diseases can be located more quickly, yet they also spread faster in a hydroponics system. Les Sourciers solves this by having a great variety of crops and plants. If one species is affected, many others will still survive. Moreover, some plants protect each other. Aaahn, the beauty of nature.