Louis Albert de Broglie, the Gardener Prince
“Land is being treated as a dead body. We should be using our land to re-create local economy, and to give families a chance to eat healthy foods.”
By Anna Watson Carl
Wall Street Journal
Oct. 10, 2013
Friends also thought he was crazy, toiling away in his gardener’s hat, and they nicknamed him “Le Prince Jardinier” ( The Gardener Prince ). The name stuck. Soon he created a line of handmade gardening tools, clothing and furniture emblazoned with his nickname and embellished with a trowel and a straw hat. Originally carried by high-end stores like Bergdorf Goodman, today the line is sold at La Bourdaisière’s gardening boutique and on the ground floor of Deyrolle.
Though his tomato conservatory and Deyrolle educational projects are already successful examples of sustainable development, de Broglie is in the midst of his most ambitious project to date. This fall, he launched a multiyear experiment in small-scale farming. On a six-acre plot behind La Bourdaisière’s gardens, de Broglie is creating a model micro farm that he hopes will one day be replicated all over France. In September, Maxine de Rostolan, a first-time farmer, relocated from Paris to La Bourdaisière to serve as an urban guinea pig.
Partnering with two local farmers (and two experts in sustainable agriculture), they are building the farm from scratch. Meanwhile, a team of scientists and researchers from INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, will measure every step of the process, from soil quality and plant size to nutritional content and profitability. These findings, compiled over the next five years, will be used to create a tool kit that de Broglie hopes will become the definitive guide for micro farm startups, in France and all over the world.