For those of us with garden beds full of annual vegetables that require replanting each year, and careful attention throughout the growing season to keep them alive and thriving, the thought of having an ecosystem in place that can take a lot of the work out of growing food, while also providing multiple functions (soil building, creating shade and wind barriers, serving as wildlife and pollinator habitats, harvesting and retaining water, etc.) is quite appealing.
And there is such a system that can offer a variety of benefits to not just the grower, their local neighborhood, and their community, but can also address some of the larger challenges that we as a species are facing, such as water and food scarcity, decreasing soil health, and resource depletion. That system is called permaculture, and while it's most often associated in people's minds with gardening and food production, that is just one of the ways that permaculture can be implemented at home, as permaculture principles can be applied across a large number of disciplines.
Permaculture is a design science, not just a gardening system, and as such, it can address almost every facet of our daily lives, from energy storage and use to sustainable development to the wise use of resources to the reduction of waste. However, it's often marginalized and pooh-poohed and relegated to being seen as some woo-woo hippie belief system or cultish fad, which is a shame, considering the potential positive impact that applying permaculture principles can have at home, in the city, on the farm, and in business.
"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system." - Bill Mollison
Two young filmmakers are trying to change that, by introducing people to permaculture in a way that's accessible, understandable, and compelling, with their forthcoming documentary, titled "Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective."
"Inhabit; A Permaculture Perspective is a documentary film project that explores the tools for and promise of meeting human needs while also caring for and regenerating ecosystem health. It is an exploration into the idea of conscious inhabitance. Focused mostly on the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, ‘Inhabit’ provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices in these regions - examining their daily lives as influenced by permaculture design and examining replicable solutions for a new agriculture. In this time of social and ecological imbalance, ‘Inhabit’ shows what sort of alternatives are possible, imitable, and expandable, while also exploring the philosophical undertones that have facilitated current paradigms of destruction." - Inhabit
To produce Inhabit, Costa Boutsikaris and Emmett Brennan traveled to more than 20 permaculture sites that have been established across a variety of rural, suburban, and urban environments, and interviewed some of the leading minds of this discipline about the application of permaculture principles to common challenges that we're all facing, such as food, water, medicine, culture, governance, the economy, and more.
In order to help finish and launch this feature length permaculture documentary, Boutsikaris and Brennan have turned to Kickstarter to raise the necessary funds to cover their post-production costs, which will help this film reach as wide an audience as possible. The crowdfunding campaign has been successful so far ($28,000 raised on an $18,000 goal), but with just over a week left to raise funds, they'd like to hit their stretch goal of $45,000, which will enable them to grow their team of creatives to get the best transcoding, editing, coloring, sound design, promotion, and distribution that they can.
If you'd like to support a worthy documentary, which will help bring permaculture to more people and potentially convince a wider audience of the importance of this regenerative discipline, a pledge of $25 will get you a digital download of the film, and a pledge of $45 will get you a signed copy of the DVD (which also includes 3 hours of footage from site visits that didn't make it into the film).