Inhabit – film screening & panel discussion
Permaculture practitioners and newcomers alike attended our From Garden To Globe event on 13 October at VU @ MetroWest in Footscray. The evening started off with a screening of Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective and was followed by a panel discussion with Duncan Cocking (owner and founder of Leaf, Root & Fruit), Kat Lavers (previously of Cultivating Community and now coordinator of My Smart Garden) and John McKenzie (Permaculture Australia and Permafund).
The film was inspirational, showing examples of permaculture solutions adopted in farm, suburban and urban landscapes across the midwest and northeast of the USA and replicable elsewhere in the world. While focusing mostly on garden applications, the film also touched on how permaculture can be used in economic and social settings to knit communities together and enhance resilience for individuals living in marginalised situations.
The filmmakers visited a number of properties and people including:
- Ben Falk, leading authority on permaculture homesteading and founder of Whole Systems Designs;
- Dave Jacke, main author of Edible Forest Gardens and designer of the Wellesley Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden where he teaches and studies polycultures and plant chemistry;
- Eric Toensmeir, co-author of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke, filmed at his 1/10 acre urban property as a demonstration for applying permaculture to a small space with poor soil; founder of Perennial Solutions;
- Lisa Depiano, co-founder of Mobile Design Lab and member of Pedal People – a bike-powered compost/trash collection service;
- Paula Hewitt, painter, illustrator and designer/builder of green playgrounds; founder of Open Road Park in the New York City’s Lower East Side, http://paulaamram.blogspot.com.au/;
- Pandora Thomas, co-founder of the Black Permaculture Network and designer/teacher/director of Pathways to Resilience, a permaculture and social entrepreneur training program working with men and women returning home after incarceration;
- Susana Kaye Lein, founder and manager of Salamander Springs Farm and advocate/practictioner of Masanobu Fukuoka‘s method of no-till farming;
- Dwaine Lee, specialist in green infrastructure, storm water management, urban food systems and ecological restoration; managed Sustainable South Bronx’s flagship green job training program, Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) Academy;
- Ari Rosenberg, who runs the Camden Center for Environmental Transformation, an urban farm and organization which uses regenerative ecological systems such as waste stream catchment to restore food security and transform degraded neighborhoods;
- Lisa Fernandes, filmed during a permablitz at her 1/3-acre property, a demonstration site for resilient and abundant post-carbon living; director of The Resilience Hub;
- Steve Gabriel, co-author of Farming the Woods and founder of Wellspring Forest Farm where he uses permaculture and agroforestry practices to support existing forests and r e-forest the pasture while providing mushroom and a range of other products;
- Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, teacher/speaker/writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money and human cultural evolution, http://charleseisenstein.net/;
- Mark Shephard, author of Restoration Agriculture and owner/designer/farmer of New Forest Farm, of a a 106-acre perennial agriculture forest.
Check out the Inhabit Cast webpage to see others who were featured in the film.
We then brought the issues raised by the film closer to home with our panel discussion. Our panellists (below) came with backgrounds that encompassed permaculture practice and teaching in backyards and communities as well as project and implementation experience in local government and international spheres.
Topics ranged from how to work with councils to support verge gardening in our streets, what value community gardens have in connecting neighbors and reducing social isolation, and what some of the challenges are facing the permaculture community in encouraging a wider understanding and uptake beyond backyard gardens.
An engaging and provocative night was had by all! For those who missed attending on the night, you can view the trailer below.
Thanks to the Permablitz and Permaculture Out West teams who organised the event, to Victoria University for their generous support in providing the venue, film and volunteer projectionist and coordinator (thanks Bec, Cassie, Josh and Sahil!); to the speakers (Duncan, Kat and John) who gave freely of their knowledge and time; and to all those attending for spending their Thursday night with us to learn, exchange with others and be inspired!
PS: If you missed the handout on Permaculture Resources, here’s a downloadable copy: permaculture-handout