Permaculture as a systematic method was first practiced by Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer in the 1960s, about 10 years before it was scientifically developed by Australians Bill Mollison or David Holmgren and their associates.
Without trying to describe his method in particular, I simply want to point out a few things why this man is so important and why he is even more important TODAY:
- His expanded farm now spans over 45 hectares of forest gardens, including 70 ponds and tens of thousands of fruit trees, shrubs, vines and highly productive vegetables and herbs at an altitude of 1500 meters (~5000 feet). He has created a self-sustaining landscape in which he produces many varieties of the best quality fish, fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, pork, poultry and even citrus and kiwi without irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides or weeding. His farm is said to be the most consistent example of permaculture worldwide.
- He is the author of several books, works nationally as a permaculture-activist in the established agricultural industry, and works internationally as an adviser for ecological agriculture. He is often asked by desperate governments to rescue big areas of land (he currently has projects in: Austria, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Poland, Ecuador, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Russia, Montana, Columbia, Brazil, Thailand, and Ecuador). Governments turn to him and big corporations turn to him; it is about time to grant people like him more attention.
- He is getting older and has gathered much precious, relevant experience and knowledge. In his latest talk I experienced his strong urge to share this knowledge. To that end, he gets involved in bigger and bigger projects, to show and prove that his "alternative method" is the only method that is actually working for permaculture.
- He actively fights for farmers’ most basic rights, such as the right to plant the crops the kinds of plants they want how and where they want.
- He uses rare and ancient seeds and crops to promote more variety in the ecologic system and is therefore one of our most important activists against institutions such as Monsanto and genetically manipulated food (which is now also legal in Europe).
- One of his biggest and most relevant truths is to work with nature instead of confronting it and working against it.
- Last, and I find most importantly, he puts trust back into people's hands. He claims anyone can do it!
To check his latest projects visit his website or YouTube. He is working on a radical book that will come out next year.
Image Credit(s): Photos of Sepp Holzer and his farm in Austria via Der Krameterhof.
Uleshka Asher is a writer always on the lookout for inspiring people who have something to say. She is also a regular Worldchanging Correspondent.