Permaculture: An insight, a lifestyle, a lesson

Hey everybody! So we wanted to talk to you about a movie we recently watched about permaculture. It’s called Inhabit.

It was a really well-done movie and it was posted for free for a week and we took advantage of that. So we gathered the family and made it a movie night.

We also did something fun, which was Lacey’s idea. Once again a genius idea.

She had the kids all get notepads and write down ideas that they were inspired by the movie to do on the homestead. Lacey and I, also got our notepads out and wrote down some ideas.

At the end of the movie, we shared our ideas as a family in ways that we can improve the homesteads. Ways we can make things better just based on the inspiration from the movie.

Movie Premise

I want to just give you an overview of what the movie is all about.

It really was an exploration of permaculture. What is permaculture and how does it apply to us, no matter where you are.

In permaculture, you don’t have to be a farmer. It can be just how you live your life really. Because permaculture makes us think about our impact, how we live, and how we integrate with the environment around us.

It doesn’t just apply to agriculture, it also applies to just the way in which we make choices in our daily life.

I think they did such a great job of incorporating all kinds of different permaculture lifestyles. People who lived in an urban setting and there were rooftop gardening, all the way to people who had giant thousands of acres of farmland and then on to suburbs then to small homesteads.

Different ways that people are incorporating these permaculture ideas into their lives is really powerful.

Takeaways about permaculture

One of the big takeaways that I had was from Ben Falk, one of the permaculture gurus, who was talking about the idea of, ‘What are we doing?’.

You know, like everybody says to reduce your impact on the environment but what if instead, we looked at how can we make the environment better?

So rather than just reducing the impact, the activities that we’re doing are actually improving the quality?

When we think about reducing our impact, we basically come to the conclusion that the best impact we could have is to not exist at all.

That’s kind of depressing, right?

Because we were put here on purpose. I think what’s beautiful about that and if we can shift our mind, is that our impact doesn’t have to be negative at all.

It shouldn’t be eliminated. Our impact should be for the betterment of the world around us.

Impact on the environment

I’m in one of these sustainability groups on Facebook and there was this whole thread. It was kind of almost a gut punch to me. There’s this whole thread on how people shouldn’t be having children right now because of the environmental impact.

My point was if we have children that we’re teaching to make the world better, that’s better than not having children at all because you’re never going to stop everybody from having children.

The truth is that we can take the systems that are here, we’re meant to be in this. This Earth was created specifically for us, at least I believe it was.

It was meant to fill our needs but we were also meant to help facilitate its needs as well. I think one of the things that I took away from the movie for sure was not only can we use this Earth but we can better this Earth.

We can make it work even better and improve it for the future.

That’s actually something that we’ve been really learning about. Regenerative agriculture, which is the idea that we can actually manipulate the earth and things to make it do even better.

One of the things is we can carbon sink with really great soil. The soil will absorb carbon.

Why do we want to sink carbon?

Because there’s too much carbon in the atmosphere.

We’re releasing carbon all the time with the different activities that we’re doing. Agriculture, industry, burning fossil fuels, burning trash, burning. I mean everything that we do creates carbon.

In case you don’t know, the carbon in the atmosphere actually doesn’t allow the heat back out of the atmosphere.That’s the whole greenhouse effect.
We want to keep as much of it basically on the ground or in the ground as possible.

Carbon sink as a solution to climate change

Eliminating or decreasing carbon release is the major, major goal of people who are fighting climate change.

Taxing carbon emissions is one of the things that is kind of common these days but what we haven’t explored as much is how can we sink more carbon?

One of the most powerful ways to do that is to restore the farmlands and the grassy things that have been destroyed through industry and through farming, industrialized fashion.

I think us being a part of that change, facilitating and managing cattle or sheep or grass growing, we can have a really powerful impact on changing the outlook of that carbon issue.

Biggest Inspiration

What was the biggest inspiration? What was the project or the homestead that inspired us the most?

For me, (Drew) I feel like it’s Mark. He is always my inspiration. That guy, just what he’s done with chestnuts and other trees, it is just simply amazing. He wrote a book about it, “Restoration Agriculture.” It’s just this idea from Wisconsin.

Mark Shepard’s Farm

He just created this beautiful oasis-like of all of these major tree species.

Basically kind of replicating what it would’ve looked like out there before it got plowed and made straight and flat for monocultures. He made it into this farm that’s all on contour and kind of weaves all along and has like chestnut trees and hazelnut trees and just all these different berries.

He said that they actually had the University of Illinois did a study on his farmland and per acre, he’s got more food coming per acre than even the cornfields next door to him.

It was just super powerful to see this really robust and dynamic farmland that he’s created where he basically doesn’t have to do anything except move animals around.

Now nature is just doing what nature is supposed to and he’s helped create it.

He could walk away and it would keep working and he doesn’t need inputs like chemicals, like fungicides, any of these things that those other monocultures are completely reliant on and without those things they wouldn’t make the produce at all.

It was inspirational.

Abundance of resources from restoration

He was saying that his biggest issue now is that he has a surplus of wood. Because his forest is getting so big now, he has to go through and keep thinning them and so he’s got chestnut wood and hazelnut wood and all these really high-end woods that he’s got to pull out of the woods so he can manage.

He can make wood for furniture and firewood. It’s like he’s got a surplus now. The surplus I think is the most exciting part of any of the stories that we heard in this movie is just this idea that there is an abundance.

If we can just acknowledge that this is the system, and we participate in the system and facilitate the system instead of working against it, which is I think what tends to do in so many different ways.

What’s in it for us and our lives?

Now, we are thinking of all of that as a metaphor in our lives.

A lot of times we push, push, push and try to work against the grain and if we can figure out how to work within the context and then manipulate it to our best benefit, then that’s when we’ll see this thriving and just more than enough existence, which is what I think we were meant to experience.

I feel like it was timely with Covid-19 that is going on.

It is like we’re being taught a lesson on pushing the environment too much. This is we’re all being forced to slow down and kind of look and that’s one of the permaculture principles they were talking about is just observing and seeing how nature works and then working with nature.

It’s an opportunity for all of us to spend some time while we are all sitting in our houses or on our homesteads and kind of observe what’s some little things we can do.

For me I feel kind of guilty because we don’t have rain barrels on our downspouts but it’s something simple we could do and it would be easy.

Final Verdict

Overall I thought it was just a really well done and a really good exploration of the potential that we all have in one way or another, no matter what kind of situation we’re living into kind of be aware and connect more with the land around us.

Now if you’re an apartment or condo or whatever, the truth is you can connect to nature in different ways.

Get involved in community garden or at least with a farmer who is aware of all of this and that can be really huge. Your impact to help a farmer do what they can do best is massive.

Someone that can learn or knows what they’re doing to help. Even on our homestead, we’ve had people come out and just help for a day and that makes a huge impact.

I think one of the other things that I take away from this is that a lot of times we associate farming with just the strain and the difficult farm life.

It’s just a martyr type lifestyle and it doesn’t have to look like that. The people in this film, they’re living this life excited to explore and they have this surplus around them and it’s really inspiring because I think we just have this connotation of what farming looks like and what it could look like. It is really beautiful and attractive, and that alone was pretty exciting.

Farming is a beautiful and minimalist lifestyle

Again, it is nature versus fighting it. If you go with it, it flows. We know from firsthand, it’s not as romantic as the movie says it out to be.

We planted 10 or 15 chestnut trees and we have one alive. There is still a challenge with it but taking that lesson and being like, “Okay well maybe that’s not where chestnut trees need to live.”

It’s like in anything when you’re learning and mastering new things, you start to hit a sweet spot as you move through and so even though it might be challenging at first or harder at first, you get to a place where you’re like, “Oh yeah, but it was worth that initial effort.”

Well anyway, I hope you guys all take advantage of it while it’s free. I don’t know that that will last forever. It was a really fun movie to watch. Even the kids enjoyed it.

We actually have some other favorite movies that have some permaculture connotations and I think including the kids in, it’s like, this is homeschool for us.

Right? It’s one little thing you can do together and enjoy potentially.

Here is the link to it so you can get to it if it’s still free. Easy access for you and anyone that might be interested.

All right. Check it out. Let us know what you think. We Would love to hear your thoughts on it and hope you have a great week. And remember, never stop learning.

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