This is a beautiful film about permaculture and the future of farming by British farmer, film-maker, wildlife photographer and “bag lady” Rebecca Hosking.
What’s beautiful about it?
For starters, the usual gorgeous British countryside.
Then there’s the close and rich display of wildlife, flora and fauna.
But what’s most beautiful here is Hosking’s own transformation of consciousness.
She grew up on a traditional multi-generational small farm which, she now admits, wasn’t sustainable even at its modest scale. At university she studied film and wildlife photography, a trade she plied with the BBC. Finally a few years ago she decided to come home and farm the land her father and grandfather had farmed before her. In the process she studied the problems with the old fossil-fuel-intensive agriculture, and decided to farm in a new way, using permaculture methods.
In this film, “Permaculture — Farms for the Future,” she includes interviews with Peak Oil theorists Colin Campbell and Richard Heinberg, who (among others) have deeply analyzed the consequences of modern industrial agriculture’s unsustainable use of ten calories of fossil fuel for every one calorie of food produced.
Permaculture and re-localization offer a sustainable path out of this dilemma. (Though, speaking for myself, I believe it will be a rough and uncertain path, because industrial agriculture is so entrenched in our economy and culture. We may have to experience various forms of collapse before change to a sustainable path becomes more widespread).
This film, produced in the spring of 2009, would be an excellent addition to SYRCL’s Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival.
UPDATE (4/22/10 12:05 PM): I heard from Mali Dyk that this film was indeed shown at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival.
“More than 96 per cent of all the food grown in Britain is reliant on synthetic fertiliser. Without it there would be serious trouble.
But without artificial fertiliser there’s not enough nutrients for the crops to grow, and without ploughing there is nothing to aerate the soil. So how can we manage without them?
The answers are in nature. As Charles Darwin pointed out, earthworms have been ploughing and aerating the soil for millions of years. And as for fertilisers, just look at how a forest flourishes: by using the natural fertility created by billions of living microbes, fungi, plants and animals.
The non-destructive, low-energy methods are elements of a wider system known as Permaculture, which challenges all the normal approaches to farming. One of its central principles is that you work with the land, rather than against it. “