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First published in German as Sepp Holzers Permakultur by Leopold Stocker Verlag.
The autobiography of Europe's most innovative farmer and permaculturist. Holzer is an agricultural rebel who grows kiwis, oranges, and pumpkins on his mountain farm near Salzburg, Austria at an altitude of 1,500m above sea level. In this richly illustrated book, Holzer describes not only the basic principles of his life and thinking, but also his endless struggle with public authorities which do everything in their power to prevent alternative forms of farming.
Sepp Holzer farms steep mountainsides in Austria 5,000 feet above sea level. His farm is an intricate network of terraces, raised beds, ponds, and waterways, well covered with productive fruit trees and other vegetation, in dramatic contrast to his neighbors' spruce monocultures. Fans of Sepp Holzer have come from all over the world to see the productivity of his farm, a veritable permaculture paradise. His first book, Sepp Holzer's Permaculture, offers a detailed guide to what Holzer has achieved on his farm. Many readers might have wondered-but how can we achieve this on a global scale? Luckily, his newest book, Desert or Paradise, examines Holzer's core philosophy for increasing food production, earth health, and reconnecting mankind with nature, applied to reforestation and water conservation across the world. Through years of consultation with other countries, Holzer has developed a core philosophy for reconnecting mankind with nature even in arid or otherwise "lost-cause" regions. He details a process he calls "Grundierung," a term from painting meaning "base coat," which goes into great detail the importance of water, and Desert or Paradise offers his concept and guide to construction of large water reservoirs in arid, rainfall-dependent regions with examples from Greece, Turkey, Spain, and Portugal. Holzer describes the ecological and economic benefits of these changes, as well as the use of a variety of plant and animal species for further integration and regeneration of the surrounding areas, including reasons for reforestation and the cause and use of forest fires. Holzer also outlines his ten points of sustainable self-reliance and how these methods can help feed the world, such as the need to regulate the water budget, eliminate factory livestock farming, bring more fallow or unused areas into production, enlarge crop areas by using terracing and Holzer-style raised beds, regionalize instead of globalize, fight for land reform and engage in community building, go back to the ancient farming wisdom, and change the educational system. Also included are Holzer's ideas on beekeeping, humane slaughtering, nature spirits, the loss of roots in our society in general, and in politics especially.
What book would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? Widely regarded as the "bible" of off-grid living, Real Goods Solar Living Source Book might be your best choice. With over six hundred thousand copies in print worldwide, it is the most comprehensive resource available for anyone interested in lessening their environmental footprint or increasing their energy independence. The Solar Living Sourcebook, Fourteenth Edition is the ultimate guide to renewable energy, sustainable living, natural and green building, off-grid living, and alternative transportation, written by experts with decades of experience and a passion for sharing their knowledge. This fully revised and updated edition includes brand new sections on permaculture and urban homesteading and completely rewritten chapters on solar technology, sustainable transportation, and relocalization. It also boasts greatly expanded material on: Natural building Permaculture and biodynamics Electric and biofuel-powered vehicles Passive solar Solar water heating Grid-tie photovoltaic systems —plus maps, wiring diagrams, formulae, charts, electrical code, solar sizing worksheets, and much more. Whether you're a layperson or a professional, novice or longtime aficionado, the Sourcebook puts the latest research and information at your fingertips—everything you need to know to make sustainable living a reality. John Schaeffer is the president and founder of Real Goods—the foremost global source for tools and information on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living. Since 1978, through Real Goods, he has pioneered solar technology in North America, providing over one hundred and fifty megawatts of solar power and helping to solarize over eighteen thousand homes.
Grow better not bigger with proven low-tech, human-scale, biointensive farming methods
This book presents emerging work in the co-evolving fields of design-led systemics, referred to as systemic design to distinguish it from the engineering and hard science epistemologies of system design or systems engineering. There are significant societal forces and organizational demands impelling the requirement for “better means of change” through integrated design practices of systems and services. Here we call on advanced design to lead programs of strategic scale and higher complexity (e.g., social policy, healthcare, education, urbanization) while adapting systems thinking methods, creatively pushing the boundaries beyond the popular modes of systems dynamics and soft systems. Systemic design is distinguished by its scale, social complexity and integration – it is concerned with higher-order systems that that entail multiple subsystems. By integrating systems thinking and its methods, systemic design brings human-centred design to complex, multi-stakeholder service systems. As designers engage with ever more complex problem areas, it is necessary to draw on a basis other than individual creativity and contemporary “design thinking” methods. Systems theories can co-evolve with a new school of design theory to resolve informed action on today’s highly resilient complex problems and can deal effectively with demanding, contested and high-stakes challenges.
The Bec Hellouin model for growing food, sequestering carbon, creating jobs, and increasing biodiversity without using fossil fuels When Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer set out to create their farm in an historic Normandy village, they had no idea just how much their lives would change. Neither one had ever farmed before. Charles had been circumnavigating the globe by sail, operating a floating school that taught students about ecology and indigenous cultures. Perrine had been an international lawyer in Japan. Each had returned to France to start a new life. Eventually, Perrine joined Charles in Normandy, and Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin was born. Bec Hellouin has since become a celebrated model of innovative, ecological agriculture in Europe, connected to national and international organizations addressing food security, heralded by celebrity chefs as well as the Slow Food movement, and featured in the inspiring César and COLCOA award-winning documentary film, Demain ("Tomorrow"). Miraculous Abundance is the eloquent tale of the couple’s evolution from creating a farm to sustain their family to delving into an experiment in how to grow the most food possible, in the most ecological way possible, and create a farm model that can carry us into a post-carbon future—when oil is no longer moving goods and services, energy is scarcer, and localization is a must. Today, the farm produces a variety of vegetables using a mix of permaculture, bio-intensive, four-season, and natural farming techniques--as well as techniques gleaned from native cultures around the world. It has some animals for eggs and milk, horses for farming, a welcome center, a farm store, a permaculture school, a bread oven for artisan breads, greenhouses, a cidery, and a forge. It has also become the site of research focusing on how small organic farms like theirs might confront Europe’s (and the world’s) projected food crisis. But in this honest and engaging account of the trials and joys of their uncompromising effort, readers meet two people who are farming the future as much as they are farming their land. They envision farms like theirs someday being the hub for a host of other businesses that can drive rural communities—from bread makers and grain millers to animal care givers and other tradespeople. Market farmers and home gardeners alike will find much in these pages, but so will those who’ve never picked up a hoe. The couple’s account of their quest to design an almost Edenlike farm, hone their practices, and find new ways to feed the world is an inspiring tale. It is also a love letter to a future in which people increasingly live in rural communities that rely on traditional skills, locally created and purveyed goods and services, renewable energy, and greater local governance, but are also connected to the larger world.

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