Mini-Documentary Trio: Forest Gardening, Edible Landscapes and Urban Permaculture

Mini-Documentary Trio: Forest Gardening, Edible Landscapes and Urban Permaculture

Three unfortunately not great picture-quality but information-packed UK ‘mini-documentaries’ by Iota. First, an introduction to temperate permaculture pioneer Robert Hart (1913 – 2000), one of whose “guiding principles” is given as Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of “democratically organised, self-sustaining communities”. Next, a visit to The Field in Cornwall, where plant database Plants for a Future founder Ken Fern introduces his work. Finally, an interview with Mike and Julia Guerra, who grow almost a fifth of their food in their city back garden. “Nature is the biggest teacher”, says Mike.

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Hügelkultur

hugelkultur feat

Hügelkultur is a German word that means mound culture or hill culture. This is a growing method that has been used for years, but was made popular by the greats like Geoff Lawton, Sepp Holzer, and (Wild man) Paul Wheaton. Hügelkultur is a process that mimics what happens in a forest on an annual basis. Trees fall, leaves fall, seeds get covered, winter and rains germinate: from death, life begins. […]

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Designing a Lifestyle, Not Just a Garden

Ladybug (Courtesy of Anderson Mancini)

Implementing a permaculture design is much more than building a garden. It’s also more than a house that utilizes passive solar energy or barrels to catch rooftop runoff. While these things often are incorporated into permaculture plans, the practice itself is getting at something much deeper. It’s redesigning the way we live. Growing at least some of our own food is a step in a different direction from the mass […]

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Permaculture Paradise: Val and Eli’s Garden

Permaculture Paradise: Val and Eli’s Garden

A 48-minute in-depth look at the Florida, USA city garden of Val and Eli. The pair changed 1/10th of an acre, in three years, from a “barren, food desert” lawn into a “paradise” of edible, medicinal, mulch and other useful plants. As an introduction to plants it’s very useful with a tour of many of the 160 different species, as well as some water management techniques. Information-heavy but their clear enthusiasm and passion make up for this.

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Centralisation and our Fossil Fuel Future

Biogas

Globalisation seems to mean centralisation, which means that people are expected to travel more and greater distances as the world becomes “smaller”. Today I had to travel to Sydney in order to get my (Dutch) passport renewed. Up to now I have always been able to do it in Brisbane, so imagine my shock when I was told that now Dutch passports can only be renewed in Sydney. Australia is a […]

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Small Scale Composting

Compost pile with daisies

Organic waste comprises an estimated 20-40% of the solid waste stream that ends up in landfills. Organic matter breaks down slowly in landfills due to limited oxygen, which can contribute to methane gas production. Enter stage left: compost. Compost is the rich, black remnant of organic waste such as kitchen scraps combined with “brown” matter (i.e. soil, leaves); the result is beautiful fertilizer for your garden. Intentionally composting accelerates the […]

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Permaculture: Green Gold

Permaculture: Green Gold

John D Liu tells how “it’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale ecosystems”. In 1995 he filmed the Loess Plateau in China where “local people transformed an area almost the size of The Netherlands from a …desert into a large green oasis” and since then has been involved in “greening deserts” around the world. The film begins with world problems but if you get past this the solutions are imaginative and inspirational: from re-introducing “thought to be extinct” species in Jordan to reforestation and rehydration in Ethiopia. Featuring Geoff Lawton.

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Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution

Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution

Film from 8th International Permaculture Convergence (IPC8) (1) which was held in four permaculture communities across Brazil in 2008. Featuring Rosemary Morrow, the film focuses on how the participants were “preparing for, and mitigating, our looming global crisis”. Still very much relevant now as it gives a useful introduction to each of the four sites used to host the IPC8 and some of their features, as well as a short […]

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Stay Busy with Winter Permaculture

Sunset over winter forest lake

Winter isn’t the signal for rest: it’s just the signal to get ready for spring. Any grower or farmer knows this fact. You will be looking at seed catalogs by the time Christmas comes and I will already feel behind. So, get ready to do some permaculture work in and out of your home! Don’t leave soil bare Winter gives you the time to walk around and observe your ground. […]

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Farming the Garden – The Curse of Abundance

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I remember pushing a mower over the grass, hot, sweaty, itchy, 4 hours every week from May to September. I hated every minute of it. The sun beating down as sweltering humidity arose from the freshly cut grass. From that first day I knew the grass would succumb, pushed to the edges, relegated to a bit player rather than the lead role. The sun would be tamed, shaded from below, […]

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