Category

Permaculture

How a Family of 5 Make Almost Zero Waste

By PermacultureNo Comments

LIFE WITH LESS WASTE

To celebrate Plastic Free July we’re bringing you the inspiring story of a zero waste/waste free family in Hobart, Australia. Lauren, Oberon, and their kids have found ways to produce almost no rubbish – they’ve only filled one small jar of waste in two years!

They’ve been able to do this though a combination of small lifestyle changes including; buying food in bulk, bringing their own containers and bags to shops, buying locally grown food from the farmers market, composting their food scraps and pet poo, and buying secondhand clothes made from natural fibers.

Find out more about the Carter family’s waste free living experience in their book A Family Guide to Waste Free Living and on their website.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "LIFE WITH LESS WASTE"

  • On our current trajectory, we’ll produce more plastic in the next decade than has been produced since the 1950s – and that’s just one type of waste material. The average household in Australia produces three 3-bedroom houses worth of waste a year!
  • Food packaging (and in fact all product packaging!) is a big part of peoples’ waste. Choosing stores that allow you to bring your own containers and bags reduces an enormous amount of waste headed to landfill.
  • A lot of energy goes into recycling and we don’t always know where those items go, so making purchasing choices that avoid packaging is also important.
  • Composting food scraps and using a worm farm for pet poo reduces a huge amount of a family’s landfill waste as well as creating a great home resource for building garden soil toward growing your own food.
  • Part of taking responsibility for what you bring home is avoiding synthetic materials in clothing, because you will need to deal with those items at the end of their life. If it’s not compostable, look for an alternative option.
  • Include your kids in conversations about why and how, right from the start – take them with you on this awesome planet-saving journey!
  • You don’t have to go out and buy new “eco” products! Replace what you have when it’s at the end of its life and then search for the same items made in more sustainable ways.
  • It’s important that the approach to waste minimisation comes from governing bodies as well as individuals. But we have so much power as individuals to make positive change and our actions will filter out and upwards into the chains of power to create the systemic change we need.
Family shopping at a bulk food store
Making homemade toothpaste
Putting food scraps in compost bin
Repairing ripped jeans

COMMENTS

How to Forage Seaweed and Make A Delicious Seasoning

By PermacultureNo Comments

About the film

In the first video of our new Hands On series we learn how to forage for seaweed and make gomasio, a delicious seasoning for soups, salads, scrambled eggs and a variety of other meals. Kirsten Bradley, from Milkwood Permaculture, takes us to the beach to harvest sea lettuce and kelp, then back to her kitchen for step-by step instructions. You can download a 1-page handout with full details when you’re ready to get foraging!

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Looking for more inspiration?

Check out our feature-length documentary
Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future.

Living the Change explores solutions to the global crises we face today – solutions any one of us can be part of – through the inspiring stories of people pioneering change in their own lives and in their communities in order to live in a sustainable and regenerative way.

Watch now

Incredibly Abundant City Permaculture Garden

By PermacultureNo Comments

THE PLUMMERY

The Plummery is a suburban home where a backyard permaculture garden measuring only 100sq/m (1076 sq feet) produces over 400kg/900 pounds of food year-round!

Kat Lavers describes her approach to gardening, including vertical and biointensive growing, and how important it is – and possible! – for city dwellers to be food resilient in the face of natural, financial and social crises. We were very inspired by how little day-to-day effort goes into creating such an abundance of food.

Find out more about Kat and The Plummery on her website and on Instagram.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "THE PLUMMERY"

  • The Plummary is an exploration into how city-dwellers can regain a meaningful connection to their food.
  • The aim is not self-sufficiency but community sufficiency. The aim is to have the majority of their food coming from their household, community and bio-region, from producers who are managing land that is “consistent with having a future”.
  • Despite the amount of food being produced in this tiny space, the couple spend only about 4 hours a week in the garden. A lot of time went into learning the skills and systems to reach this point, but even that has only been over 4–5 years.
  • One of the best things you can do if you’re just starting out is to start small: you’ll get much more out of a small space that is well managed than from a large space that becomes unwieldy and runs away on you.
  • Food is one of the ways we can build resilience within our systems. Access to fresh produce in cities is critical and producing your own adds a buffer to what can be provided on a larger scale. It also helps you to avoid all the packaging, transport, fuel and chemicals used in producing food conventionally.
  • And it brings such joy at the same time!
Basket of homegrown vegetables
Vertical vegetable gardens
City permaculture garden

COMMENTS

Formidable Vegetable – Earth People Fair

By PermacultureNo Comments

About the film

Earth People Fair is a manifesto to finding a sense of ‘home’ from the perspective of someone who has often felt out of place. Partly inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s book ‘Dark Emu’, Mgee points to an urgent need for Australians to start recognising and adopting more sustainable land use in an ecologically-fragile country, attempting to draw links between traditional indigenous practices and more modern systems of permaculture as a way for its more recent inhabitants to try and adapt to the increasingly harsh conditions we all face.

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Sustainable City Living on 1/10th of an Acre

By PermacultureNo Comments

DEGROWTH IN THE SUBURBS

What does sustainable living in the city look like? By living more simply, creating permaculture gardens, utilizing energy technologies such as biogas and solar power, and taking part in community initiatives like car sharing, this household creates money and time savings that enable them to work fewer hours and develop a thriving and sustainable home.

Find out more about degrowth and voluntary simplicity on the Simplicity Institute and Simplicity Collective websites or by reading Samuel Alexanders book ‘Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary‘.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "DEGROWTH IN THE SUBURBS"

  • This family lives on 1/10th of an acre in inner-city Melbourne. They’ve turned their lawns into gardens and they’re exploring alternative technologies and living more simply.
  • Their household draws 75–80% less electricity from the grid than the Australian average.
  • Globally, we’re over-consuming the planet’s resources, while at the same time billions of people live way below the poverty line. That implies that the most over-consuming nations and regions of the world need to contract through planned contraction – degrowth.
  • Green sources of energy like solar panels and wind turbines will not be able to sustain our current way of life. We need to learn to consume less.
  • One of the more unusual renewable energy technologies used on this property is a biogas digester, which provides all of the family’s cooking gas using just food scraps. (They call it Betty!)
  • Because they mostly cycle or use public transport, they’ve made their car available for hire by people in the community through a car-sharing service. Fewer cars on the road and a little money in the bank!
  • These practices are available to those of us privileged to have access to land and the freedom to choose a certain way of life. In this case the lifestyle is also enabled by certain choices, like being frugal and thoughtful with money and practising voluntary simplicity.
  • In affluent society many households would be able to consume considerably less – with the added benefit of making people less committed to working the hours to pay for that consumption.
  • Community engagement and collective action are vital in fixing systemic problems. There will never be a politics of sufficiency until there is a culture that demands it.
Permaculture vegetable gardens
Planting seedlings in vegetable garden
Food scraps for biogas digestor
Boiling kettle on the solar dish

COMMENTS

Permaculture Tours Episode 1: Abdallah House

By PermacultureNo Comments

About the film

Welcome to the first episode of our new series, Permaculture Tours. In this series we’ll be diving deep into some amazing properties designed using permaculture principals, with the aim of giving you inspiration and ideas on how to apply these solutions in your own life. In this episode we take a tour of Richard and Kunie’s property, Abdallah House, in Seymour, Australia. On this 1/7th of an acre property, the owners have made the most of the available space through thoughtful design of the garden, house, and marginal spaces. Find out more about Abdallah House and permaculture at http://abdallahhouse.com, http://retrosuburbia.com and http://permacultureprinciples.com

Support the creation of more episodes by pledging as little as $1 a month on Patreon – https://patreon.com/happenfilms

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Living a Radically Simple Permaculture Life

By PermacultureNo Comments

CREATURES OF PLACE

Creatures of Place is an insight into the wonderful world of Artist as Family: Meg Ulman, Patrick Jones, and their youngest son, Woody. Living on an urban 1/4-acre section in a small Australian town, Meg and Patrick have designed their property using permaculture principals.

They grow most of their own food, don’t own cars and ride their bikes instead, use very little electricity, and forage food and materials from their local forest. We found their story super inspiring and we think you will too!

Read more about the adventures of Artist as Family on their blog.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "CREATURES OF PLACE"

  • “We are creatures of place and if we don’t become creatures of place again we will absolutely annihilate every place for every species.”
  • This family lives on a 1/4-acre permaculture plot on Dja Dja Wurrung country in Australia. They haven’t eaten out of the supermarket industrial food system for over 9 years.
  • They call their pivotal moment “The bin-liner moment” – when they realised that with the majority of their waste going to compost, worm farms, chooks and the dog, they no longer needed to line their rubbish bin. That caused them to ask what else they didn’t need…
  • “Going without is saying yes to other things.” The average Australian car costs around $15,000 a year in depreciation, wear and tear, petrol, licenses, etc. By giving up their cars in addition to other changes toward living more simply, the family were able to reduce working outside the home to just a few hours a week.
  • The household income is under $30,000 – below the Australian poverty line – but they consider themselves rich. Their “bank” is their wood pile, their cellar of preserved foods, their seeds, and their knowledge. “Money is not wealth.” Wealth is time – time-richness, family time, community time, and accruing knowledges.
  • They aim for “community sufficiency” rather self-sufficiency – they’re part of a community co-op, community gardens, and they barter with neighbours.
  • While they acknowledge their historical privilege in having access to land, they believe it brings with it important responsibilities: to pay respect to the first peoples of the land, to live responsibly, and to look after the world, including planting for the next generations.
Permaculture property
Family riding their bikes
Permaculture vegetable garden

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Restoring Paradise

By Permaculture6 Comments

About the film

Regenerative agriculture offers a future for the sustainable farming of meat in line with nature’s needs, by using holistic grazing and organic/biodynamic practices and even sequestering carbon in the soil – so important in the fight against climate change. At Mangarara, in New Zealand’s beautiful Hawke’s Bay, Greg Hart and his family are in the process of restoring 1500 acres of land conventionally farmed for over 150 years into the paradise it once was.

Focusing on diversity of animals, plantings and practices they are creating not only a beautiful landscape but also a beautiful place for animals and people to live and thrive. Holistic grazing keeps the grass long in order to build soil biology, sequester carbon, reduce fossil fuel inputs and keep animals naturally healthy. The neighbouring farmers might think it’s a wasteful practice, but as Greg says in the film, “Waste is a human concept. Nature doesn’t do waste.”

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Organic Farming is the Future of Agriculture

By Permaculture3 Comments

THE FUTURE OF FOOD

In this film, organic market gardeners Frank and Josje talk about why the supermarket system doesn’t work and how Community Supported Agriculture fits into a new story for food growing. CSA members help farmers to grow the best quality vegetables and to nurture healthy soils by committing to receive vegetable boxes every week for a season.

That way, the farmer can get on with growing great food and sending it direct to their customers, without having to accommodate the profit-geared demands of the supermarket chains, which drive conventional growers to produce less nutritious vegetables in ways that damage the soil. This is the future of food, a future in which both people and planet are healthier!

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KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM "THE FUTURE OF FOOD"

  • CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture – a system that enables farmers to plan their crops efficiently because their CSA members commit to purchasing a weekly box each season.
  • The customer knows they’ll receive a box of freshly harvested nutritionally grown food each week, while the farmer knows in advance what seeds to sow, and there’s no issue of food waste.
  • This system differs to that of the industrial supermarket system, where the focus is on uniform, blemish-free produce with a long shelf-life, requiring farmers to use chemical inputs to grow crops faster in an unnaturally pest-free environment and to discard imperfect produce, creating a system overloaded with toxic waste and extreme food waste.
  • A mixed system between plants and animals is important to create an optimal situation where bought-in fertilisers and other inputs are not required.
  • A farmer’s job is to create the right kind of soil for healthy microorganisms, so that plants, trees, insects and animals can thrive in a biodiverse system.
  • “We are in a position to do it properly because of the CSA; our members allow us to create that diversity. That other, old system doesn’t create that diversity.”
Walking through garden with wheelbarrow
Rows of vegetables on organic farm
Free range chickens

COMMENTS

Closing the Loop

By Permaculture2 Comments

About the film

Here’s a subject we’re super passionate about – although it’s not a topic always appreciated at the dinner table! Humanure composting is the ultimate in self-responsibility – when we use flush toilets we not only waste beautiful clean water, we waste an incredibly useful resource. Our poo, when properly composted, is a brilliant addition to our gardens, making it the ultimate in ways to create a closed-loop system.

While this isn’t an immediate option for apartment-dwellers, it’s certainly an option for anyone with a back yard big enough to hold a couple of compost bays. In this video, Greg and Lisa, from Wanaka, New Zealand, describe one of the easiest ways to compost your poo. We highly recommend the book Lisa mentions by Joseph Jenkins, The Humanure Handbook – you can buy it online or download a free PDF.

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