Okay, let's get the full title out of the way: "Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening"
First off, Sepp Holzer is a permaculture deity - his knowledge and wealth of experience are both humbling and encouraging. Humbling because he seems to know, well, everything. Encouraging because he is writing it down and sharing with the rest of us.
As far as I can tell, his definition of "small-scale" is relative to his own 45 hectares (111 acres, 4.8 million square feet...) - to do everything he talks about makes me want at least a 40 acre plot!
The book is full of practical information, well-written, with fascinating and entertaining anecdotes, but two key themes stood out for me; topics that he touched on again and again:
- Experiment and learn from the land, the plants, the animals
Everywhere is different, and what works perfectly in one location might be a disaster in another, so there is no cookie-cutter prescription for success. Watch the world around you to see what it tells you about how you are doing and about what it needs. Don't be afraid to try new things, try lots of them, make lots of mistakes and learn from them.
- It is okay to make a profit
Building your own paradise doesn't mean you need to withdraw from the world - money rents the backhoe that digs the new lake, or the tractor that drags in and mashes down the trees in your Hugelkultur. Money gets your rare seeds, beehives and mushroom spawn, yadda, yadda, yadda. Sepp is an unashamed capitalist (hear, hear!) and the book is packed full of ideas and suggestions on how to turn a profit.
This book is great - buy two copies and give one away.