Based in a remote village in Quebec, Canada, Marie and Francis live off grid in this beautifully renovated earthship. They grow their own food, collect rainwater, utilize solar energy, and live mortgage-free. Their sustainable lifestyle is incredibly inspiring to those seeking a life off the grid. Exploring Alternatives on YouTube tours this inspiring home.
The couple purchased the land and home – built 30 years ago from rock found on the property – very inexpensively. The house required extensive renovation, which they did over several years of commuting to the property from the city on weekends.
They added a large garden where, in addition to the attached greenhouse, they produce much of their food. Francis and Marie now reside in the home full time with their daughter. Other than buying a few staples such as yogurt and cheese, they grow their own fruits and vegetables, raise chickens for eggs, and bake their own bread.
The greenhouse, in addition to providing an area capable of year-round food production, is a beautiful indoor living space. In fact, the greenhouse is actually their living room and is also a place for the family to sit and enjoy meals together.
The home is about 100 square meters of living space – approx. 1076 square feet. The couch in the greenhouse doubles as a bed for guests. The main room of the home holds a lofted bed for the couple and a bed for their daughter, in addition to a wood stove and storage areas.
The spacious kitchen and dining room look out to the greenhouse through large windows that help to light the home. Now that they live in their off grid earthship full time, the couple is able to dedicate more time to growing, preserving, and preparing their food. A root cellar off the back of the home provides ample storage space to help preserve their harvest for year-round use.
Power to the home comes from a solar panel array connected to two battery banks. They say their system is very simple, and has room to grow, but is very effective for powering their essentials.
Water is collected in large tanks, primarily from drainage off the roofs of the home, the greenhouse, and the shed. This water is used to water the garden, the chickens, and for other uses around the home. Their drinking water comes from a well at a nearby cabin.
There are two bathrooms attached to the home, each with a composting toilet. Greywater from the shower and sink is drained into a pond where is it filtered by plants.
The home is primarily heated by the sun via passive solar heat through the greenhouse. A wood stove is used for supplemental heat as needed, in addition to providing cooking heat and running the water heater. On sunny days, even during the coldest months, the home stays comfortably warm from the heat the greenhouse produces.
In addition to managing this beautiful homestead, Francis, Marie, and their daughter travel extensively in their RV. They explore the world for a few months out of the winter and work their gardens in the summer – truly the best of both worlds.
Francis and Marie also run a nonprofit dedicated to bringing rooftop gardens to cities, aiming to change the mindset surrounding agriculture. They successfully implemented several rooftop garden projects around Quebec before moving out of the city to their homestead.
Their latest project, known as “Hempbassadors”, involves promoting industrial hemp. They pursued this venture after learning how useful hemp is in so many industries, including food, clothing, construction, and many others. They hope to bring awareness to others about the virtues of this valuable, sustainable crop.
By keeping expenses low and not having to worry about a mortgage, Francis and Marie have freed themselves from the binds that keep so many people from pursuing their dreams of living off the grid or traveling whenever they please.
See the video below for an interview with Francis and Marie, along with a tour of their home. You can also follow their progress on Instagram and Facebook: