Adventures in Permaculture: A Study Guide

Our 45-minute documentary covers a three-month sojourn up and down Australia’s eastern coast. The film follows our visits to different farms and permaculture sites in chronological order as we gather insights on a wide range of topics. The purpose of this study guide is to break the video down into eight topical segments that groups can use for discussion and reflection.

The general flow of the film moves from personal self-reliance through permaculture to community resiliency through collective skill-sharing, barter and co-housing. The overall proposition is that permaculture is an extremely critical tool when facing a future marked by climate change and the end of cheap petroleum.

As you move through the film, you will find that each of the eight topics has a companion website essay and sets of group discussion questions. The format is designed for group discussion, so we include “Openers” – questions meant to break the ice and get people warmed up – followed by the essay. “Dig” questions lead the group deeper into the topic. Finally, the “Reflect” section allows the group to respond to the material and explore future actions.

The eight segments are listed below. Click on the links to access the essay and question sets for each topic. Additional essays and resources are hyperlinked by topic as well. Please let us know what you think of the video and how this study guide could be improved to help unpack its many important lessons in group settings.

1. Urban Suburban Village Bush – All things considered, we think the village setting is ideal. Villages offer the best of both worlds – slower paced life with larger lots for cultivation, but access to utilities and greater potential for supportive community.
Travelog: Bushfire!

2. Permaculture: Living in an Ecosystem – Permaculture is designing human habitat as if our homes, neighborhoods and communities were part of an ecosystem.
Travelog: The Aboriginal Cave

3. Living in an Ecosystem: Eating What Nature Brings – For human habitat to function as a part of an ecosystem, people need to eat what nature brings in any given season.
Web: Mullumbimby Community Gardens
Facebook: Sharon Gibson
Facebook: Mullumbimby Community Gardens

4. Human Scale Habitat – We need to explore a future that is not unlike the past – a way of life that is sustained by human effort rather than fossil fuel.

5. Dinosaur Economics and the Brown Tech World – A world desperately scrambling to prop up “Dinosaur Economics” (the backward-looking, fossil fuel-driven global economy) in the face of rapidly accelerating climate change is what David Holmgren calls the “Brown Tech Scenario.”
Web: Holmgren Design
Twitter: @Holmgren Design

6. Local food Relocalizes Hepburn – Relocalization means self-reliance through community. If we know and trust our neighbors, we probably have enough shared resources to sustain our community without burning massive amounts of fossil fuel.
Web: Hepburn Relocalisation Network blog
Travelog: Permaculture: The Next Generation

7. Permaculture takes an Eco-village – Imagine a whole residential housing development designed around permaculture principles!
Travelog: In Champagne Country
Web: Brogo Permaculture Gardens
Facebook: Brogo Permaculture Gardens

8. Food Future – Suppose our current food system collapses or is disrupted for a while. Maybe a drought in California wipes out half this year’s harvest or a Middle East conflict knocks out a major pipeline and gas prices jump, making it impossible for truckers to drive long distances with our food.

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