Growing a Year's Worth of Produce on 1000 Sq. Ft. In 4 Hours a Week

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basket holding assortment of fresh vegetables and flowers

Happen Films / 

The Plummery is an experiment. The results of that experiment look good.

From a 23-year-old forest garden to a 1-acre permaculture farm, Happen Films have brought us many beautiful videos about people growing food on whatever land they have available. Their latest is no exception.

Visiting Kat Lavers on her 1000 square foot garden about 8 miles from the center of Melbourne, Australia, the video explores ways that Kat and her partner have structured their land to grow a majority of their produce year-round. (You can follow news of their abundant harvests via Instagram.) Using a variety of techniques including permaculture design, polyculture, and helped by an army of free-range quails, Lavers says the goal isn't to become completely self-sufficient, but rather to gain some autonomy over, and connection to, the food they eat—and then to build connections with others who are growing food in a manner that's "consistent with having a future".

As someone who once discussed volunteerism as the cheap oil of permaculture, I feel obliged to point out that The Plummery's success is due, in part, to a steady stream of volunteer "WOOFers" (folks who work in exchange for room, board and education in organic gardening). But the whole point of Permaculture is to assess what resources you have available and design the system to use those resources effectively, efficiently and ethically. So good on The Plummery and Happen Films for doing just that. And it might just explain how they grow such a stunning amount of food on what they claim is roughly four hours work a week!