This package contains three separate Sepp Holzer documentaries: "Farming with Nature," "Terraces and Raised Beds," and "Aquaculture."
All three of these videos are brought to us by
Green Planet Films is a non-profit distributor of Nature, Environment, and Human Ecology Films. Their mission is to advocate environmental education, with an emphasis on film, to an evolving global audience. They connect and engage viewers with filmmakers dedicated to documenting the precarious relationships between nature and humanity. Sample topics include deforestation, water resources, ocean conservation, sustainable fishing, renewable energies, climate change and other issues that affect humanity in the context of itself and nature.
Farming with Nature
This documentary features Sepp's interactions with the animals on his farm, specifically the heritage pigs that thrive in even deep snow and help loosen the soil for him. It gives a glimpse into his polycultures/guilds, which he calls plant families, and the roles they play. You will also learn about the various income streams that Sepp utilizes: selling his fruittrees in the earth they grow in, saving and selling seeds, selling produce locally, renting out cabins, and hosting seminars.
Terraces and Raised Beds
"Terraces and Raised Beds" covers the destructive effects of monocrops (specifically pine tree monocrops), the plant families (guilds) he plants around his fruit trees, how he creates terraces and why he creates those terraces, as well as his raised beds (hugelkultur) and how and why he creates them. It features the creation of both a terrace and a large hugelkultur garden. In it, he also discusses how he deals with government officials and regulations, for example, calling his terraces gardens instead of paths. the entire documentary shows the differences between conventional farming/forestry and Sepp's forest agriculture.
This video covers a wide range of water topics, not just raising fish. There is discussion of self-sustaining aquatic life that produces fish for market, how Sepp creates these ponds with both pigs and machinery, and the different types of ponds and water systems he employs on his land. Not only are there deep ponds for fish, but shallow wetlands where frogs and other natural food for the fish naturally breed and naturally move to the deeper ponds. Sepp explains his use of pumps and pipes to generate power, pump clean water without any electricity, move water from one pond to another to regulate temperature, and extend the growing season by spraying the crops with water. Sepp explains why he does not irrigate, and how he avoids it, as well as the role that stumps and rocks play in the creation of healthy aquatic ecosystems.
I really love the view they give into Sepp's farm, reasonings, and techniques. These videos are fantastic, showing a permaculture system that runs beautifully, and leave you wanting MORE!
I was surprised at how much information was conveyed, especially in the Aquaculture film. I figured the video would be rather boring and just about how he makes the ponds and stocks them with fish. Not at all!!! There is so much more in this film! I had thought Sepp had ponds for the thermal retention (keeping the climate warmer), and to soak into the earth to water his plants, and to breed some fish. But, he uses it for far more!
He has pumps that use the movement of pond water to power the pumping of clean water into troughs for him to drink all around his property. The flowing of water also generates enough electricity to power his whole farm. He has a watermill! The pipes are to regulate the temperatures of the ponds (bringing cooler water from other ponds to warm up the cooler ones). He also uses his pumps to spray water on his plants to extend his growing season by one month earlier and one month later.
He uses the water not just to breed fish, but also creates bogs to breed frogs and bugs for his fish. The small critters migrate through streams to the larger ponds where they are eaten, without any effort from Sepp. He does not supplement any fish food! I love how he creates habitat with logs and rocks, and also makes ponds to be beautiful sanctuaries. He says, "It should look like nature made it that way. That's good design."
My 6 year old son and I watched this video together, and he loved it, wanting to watch it again. This is a fantastic video to see many ways that water can be utilized!
That was just my review for Aquaculture. The other videos contain a ton of information, too!
Farming with Nature has everything from pigs, to multiple uses of plants, to his income streams and more. Sepp's heritage pigs that are happy outside even in deep snow. During the non-snowy season, they loosen the soil, and are moved from orchard to orchard. They are his "best farm workers."
His cherry trees growing just below the tree line, where trees normally stop growing. The lettuce and vegetables growing along the paths and pollinator flowers intermixed with everything. He explains his form of permaculture and why he combines short and long rooted plants together and the roles they play. The movie shares some of the plants he grows, with descriptions of multiple plants, like how he grows potatoes from heritage varieties, and plants a wide variety of other potatoes to create cross-breeds and landraces. There is also mention of seed-saving, and multiple uses of each plant. For example, cows parsnip, has deep roots to bring up minerals and water, is a source of pollen for bees, it's dry stems can be burt for kindling, the fresh stems are used as well, and can even be utilized as an instrument.
It describes some of his multiple income streams: sells his fruit trees in the earth they grow in, saving and selling seeds, selling produce locally, renting out cabins, seminars, selling mushroom, selling fish, and other things I'm probably forgetting!
I found the Terraces and Raised Bed movie facinating, too.
Sepp explains the destructive effects of monocultures, especially those of pine trees with their shallow roots. He shows how he uses rocks for creating warmer environments and building of his terraces. There is footage of a sheep pasture being turned into a new terraced landscape. How the terraces stop the erosion. And how once the work is complete, the work will last for generations, improving the ecology and fertility of the land.
In the project featured in the film, he is planting 1500 fruit trees. He explains his plant families (guilds) and why he uses them: "A real jumble of species. It's the variety that prevents the predominance of any one pest. Insects only become damaging when I make mistakes. Only then." He discusses the rocks he places and the seed mixtures he plants around his fruit trees, and also in his paths. He explains how he make his terraces so hill is stable and does not collapse... and how he deals with government officials and regulations
There's also some great information on hugelkultur in the film. Though, it's never called "hugelkultur"--Sepp just calls them his raised beds. They are usually made with a foundation of pine trees, and other things are added in--but ONLY that which is from nature and is free from chemicals. He does use cardboard or newspaper. He explains why he situates his beds 90 degrees to the wind, and how the bed has capillary action that help regulate the moisture, and how the deep rooted plants help bring up moisture and transpire.
As I said, these documentaries are packed full of infomation and a wonderful and tempting view into Sepp's methods and farm. These are seriously great films!
I do have some good news, though! For those that back the kickstarter within the first two days--even at the $1 level--they get a whole host of free goodies (here's the list of all the goodies: https://permies.com/w/earlybird). And, one of the goodies is the first video in this documentary series.
You might also check out Green Planet Films (https://www.greenplanetfilms.org/), as they offer the films for sale on their site, and might offer it streaming, as well.
I'd probably support the kickstarter at $1 to get the first video, and if you like it, see if you can access it through Green Planet Films. We were really excited to offer these videos, because they are hard to get a hold of.
These videos brought together into one package lots of disparate "Sepp knowledge" I'd heard Paul talk about in his podcasts and articles (and probably elsewhere), but never heard all at once nor seen all the accompanying visuals.
Having all of that information right in one place, with the images of the Krameterhof, helps drive the points of wisdom home.
I use these videos when I want somebody to get closer to understanding the kind of cultivation I'm pursuing. It's beautiful, it's Sepp, and it's also distinctly not the home & garden magazine.
I wish there was more of them, or more info, or more detail. But that's the nature of an introductory program. I have these on DVD, so I can't speak to the streaming component of this, just the content. But my version was clearly lovingly-artisinally-hand-etched from the original VHS tapes.