Sepp Holzer is known for his unusual methods of farming and his book, Sepp Holzer - The Rebel Farmer, is proof of it all. Here, he tells the struggle of a farmer who derives his own principles by observing nature. He also reports his struggles with the authorities who tried to stop him from testing on alternative agricultural methods. The book includes detailed accounts and photos of the world Holzer lives in.
Sepp Holzer: The Rebel Farmer is very good. I give this book 8 out of 10 acorns. The best parts of the book were descriptions of important discoveries made and projects accomplished by Holzer, mostly on the Krameterhof (his family farm, which he wound up expanding in size to more than double), but also those around the world (the international projects are described and illustrated with photographs at the end of the book). (Photographs are the main, but not the only form of illustration. Colorful, detailed drawings of a few farm setups, like the ones in Sepp Holzer's Permaculture are in here too.)
The most tedious parts of the book are the decades of legal battles and bureaucratic hoops Holzer had to jump through, and only a tiny sampling is in the book of what he actually endured. It is remarkable to me how Holzer presents his adversaries and battles: when confronted, he handled people problems and issues without bitterness, and recalls them in the book equally without bitterness, thus providing us all a role model when dealing with the difficulties we all meet in a compassionate, empathetic, and rational way.
Holzer does laugh easily, you can tell by his narrative voice, especially at the preposterous disconnect between modern humans and nature. My favorite example was the story of the city woman visiting his farm and who really believed that stags gave birth to babies, babies already bearing full sets of antlers. However, he has only scorn and loathing for the modes, means, and methods of modern industrialized agriculture. His “rants” on such topics are delightful--and quotable. His passion for the land, animals, and humans all flourishing together comes through on every page of the book. He encourages others to garden and farm with imagination and empathy for all living creatures and a commitment to helping all beings on earth flourish.
The first parts of the book are about the building, learning, and experimenting he did, while being surrounded by disrespect and disbelief for most of life, and persisting anyway despite what family, friends, and enemies might say. But by the end of the book, when he was in his 50s, Holzer had reached a part of his life where he was now respected and revered, and was teaching and mentoring all around the world. It's really a shame this book is rare and difficult to get ahold of, anyone interested in Sepp Holzer’s work in permacultureshould certainly try and read it. It will inspire anyone to try to make a difference with a good garden!
“Every human activity is an opportunity to bear fruit and is a continual invitation to exercise the human freedom to create abundance...” ― Andreas Widmer
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