Hailing the hero of permaculture

Feb 03, 2011
Sepp Holzer employs a "pig tractor" to clear the ground beneath cherry trees in preparation for sowing with perennial and annual vegetables at his Austrian farm.

Belfast — "Farming with Nature," a film about permaculture, will be screened Wednesday, Feb. 16th at 6 p.m. in the Abbott Room of Belfast Free Library, 106 High St. The latest in the third Wednesday film series sponsored by the Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County, the film is co-sponsored by the Newforest Institute.

Permaculture, a kind of "permanent agriculture," is the use of natural and perennial agriculture and landscapes (trees, food crops, flowers) in a sustainable way that renews natural resources and enriches local ecosystems. "Farming with Nature" combines three permaculture films on the Austrian agro-rebel" Sepp Holzer, the first practitioner of permaculture, who simply observes nature and works with it quite successfully.

Holzer has become famous beyond the German-speaking world for his radical approach to farming. He has transformed his family farm in the coldest part of the Austrian Alps into an eco-paradise of terraces, ponds, huge beds and food forests. At an altitude of 5000 feet, he produces an abundance of vegetables, herbs, meat, fish and fruit in a self-sustaining landscape without irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers.

Holzer's ideas are very relevant to Maine. The discussion following the film with Newforest Institute's Susan Cutting and Jim Merkel will focus on how to apply the principles to permaculture to the Belfast area.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Newforest Institute in Brooks at 722-3625.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.

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