I recently bought a copy of the Geoff Lawton DVD, Establishing a Food Forest, from the Permaculture Research Institute, in Australia. I had seen the DVD before, including watching a copy on the web, which was probably there illegally. Even so, I wanted my own copy, and sent off for it.
You can watch short segments of the DVD on YouTube, and they are a good taster for what the film is about.
There are plenty of other reviews out in cyberspace, including one on the Transition Culture Blog, which you can find here.
I wanted to do my own.
The DVD title suggests that it will show you how to create your own Forest Garden, and as an introduction, it does well. The first section, Basic Concepts, does an excellent job of explaining the layers of a natural forest, the use of what he calls “support species” (pioneer trees/shrubs) to create a protected environment for the production trees, and the innovative “chop and drop” method of using fast growing tree species, to provide mulch for them. I think that the DVD is worth buying/seeing for this early part alone.
Other sections that were really useful were the second section, discussing swales, and showing the planting of them as the first stage in establishment, and the section on weeds, which discussed the way that weeds repair damaged/deficient soils.
Most of the rest of the DVD was enjoyable, inspirational, and very interesting, but there were a few things that you need to be aware of before you rush out to order a copy. First of all, if you live in a temperate climate, you will quickly become very jealous. Jealous of the variety of plants available to tropical/sub-tropical areas, the speed of their growth, the availability of light, and so on. Perhaps that’s just me, But I’ve warned you. Linked to that, is that if you want to try to do this in a temperate climate, you will need to do your research to find the right combination of plants, to fulfil the functions that Geoff discusses. As he does spend a lot of time naming trees, and plants, for many of us, this is time wasted. I also felt that Geoff didn’t go into enough detail about the soilfoodweb, and the actual way that nutrients are cycled by micro organisms, but that may be because it is an interest of mine.
Finally, if you do decide to order a copy, not only will you have to pay import duty, but if you are UK based, Royal Mail will charge you an £8 handling fee, for handling overseas mail. If you want to avoid that, perhaps you can get an Australian friend/relative to send you a copy as a gift:-) (Didn’t want to make a suggestion that sounded like tax avoidance)
The DVD is available
The site has some great content, including the most recent update of the follow up to “greening the desert”.
If you haven’t watched it, or the original, you can find the link
It is really inspirational, and I’ll include some links to other amazing clips in a post soon.