Thursday, October 25, 2012

Film Review: Geoff Lawton's "Urban Permaculture"

Like everything Lawton does, this production is inspiring.

The DVD begins with a look at the possibilities of the urban growing environment and the madness of the traditional grass lawn.
Geoff is not amused by your unproductive grass-scape.

From there, we're taken through a variety of intensively managed Urban Edens. Backyards overflowing with life... medicinal herbs beneath fruit trees... lettuces and mints in planters... citrus trees managed as shrubs in a 1' wide strip on a balcony... a swimming pool converted into a fish pond... plenty of eye-candy.

We also see quite a few irrigation and water reclamation systems, from roof-fed cisterns to swales dug across yards to catch rainwater. My wife found this part of the presentation tougher to grasp, as did I, it being only a rough overview. The re-use of graywater and the technology of solar pumps, filters, diverters, etc. are much more complicated than the scope of this DVD.

Look upon this garden ye mighty and despair.
If you wished to evangelize the un-permacultured masses, this production wouldn't be a good starting point, though if you were there to say encouraging things through the film, you might get some tentative agreement from the more pliable. The idea of massive renovations and capturing water with expensive systems is likely too much for the average homeowner... but as we all know, the average homeowner will soon be devoured by starving zombie masses in the Econopocalypse.

Geoff Lawton: Permaculture Rooster
Something that hits you right away about Lawton is his positivity. He believes that many modern problems can be solved through the principles of Permaculture. In this DVD, as in his other productions, the "you-can-do-it" attitude shines through. From schoolyards, to dumps, to gardening for the aging, to gardening in a tight space or in too much shade, there are concepts and ideas here anyone can grasp.

In one portion of the film, Geoff takes a group of students and/or volunteers to do a "permablitz" makeover of a woman's yard. There they dig, throw down newspapers and straw, chainsaw and plant their way to a new food-producing system. It's not as candified as seeing all the gardens in later stages of development - but you have to start somewhere. And as the students cut and dig... it just looks like a ton of fun.

For a newbie... the DVD is a wealth of information... and for the expert, it's a well of inspiration. That simply seems to be the word that fits the best: inspiration. Grab some popcorn, your date and a bottle of something good and toast Lawton's latest. It's well-worth a watch.

Find a copy HERE


4/5 Spuds

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