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Podcast 016 - Interview with Maddy Harland of Permaculture Magazine

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Credit: Kevin Murphy

In this podcast Paul interviews Maddy Harland who is the supreme ruler of Permaculture Magazine. Maddie starts off by describing her time with Sepp Holzer while visiting Portugal. She then explains the problems in the Iberian Peninsula. This area is very arid and very depopulated. Most people in this area are raising sheep and over graze the fields. She mentions how several species of animals are nearly extinct.

However, people are using permaculture to try and improve the landscape in Portugal. Sepp was called in to give his ideas on how to repair the landscape. Much of the ancient cork oaks forests are also dying. Topsoil loss is also a huge problem so the agriculture is very poor in this region. The Tamera community invited Sepp to come try and help the area. Sepp told them to stop plowing and stop overgrazing and install hugel beds. Sepp installed edible towers full of scraps along with the hugel beds. Lots of nut trees, almonds, plums and figs.

Additionally, Sepp designed lakes as part of the project and Maddy explains how they are full of life. After three years of damming the water you could see the lakes create moisture that feed the hugel beds and there is abundant wildlife. Maddy found the visit deeply emotional because of the transformation of Tamera. Paul discusses how different people have different views of the transformative work that Sepp has accomplished. Maddy then explains how Sepp is using pigs to help restore the landscape. Paul tells a Sepp story about a question from a vegetarian about using pigs to clear the land.

Maddy explains the type of other work that gets done at Tamera. Paul would like to see pictures of annual vegetable crops growing out of the hugel beds. Sepp likes to use big rocks and big tree stumps to help slow evaporation. Paul describes two types of ponds that Sepp uses, namely hot ponds and cold ponds. Paul feels that supermarkets may start carrying Sepp type grown foods. Sepp knows how to make money raising crops because he is always diversifying his crops. Maddy and Paul review some of Sepps works.

Paul then explains how he does not want to use newspaper and cardboard and how Whitefield is also anti newspaper and anti cardboard. Maddie explains how Patrick has a great sense of humor. Maddy talks about how she is posting things daily to her facebook page and on her website. Maddie describes how permaculture can do some amazing things and how they will share information through any means available and how main stream media can be so negative. Maddy and Paul discuss internet traffic and how to spread the positive message of Permaculture.

Maddy explains how her journey was one of trial and error but after a two week course she could really start to see patterns in nature. Maddy explains how much healthier her lifestyle is with Permaculture. Paul discusses Maddy's Permaculture Magazine and her recent translation of Sepp's book. Paul mentions how Maddy has a number of books out and she has a few more in the pipeline. Maddie discusses some recent articles in the magazine and Paul discusses a tree bog sanitary treatment system. Paul explains how certain trees will work and how other trees will not work as well.

Paul wraps up by giving the www.permaculture.co.uk website and how there are several forums out at permies.com dedicate to the magazine and one for Ben Law. Paul wants to visit England to hang with the folks there that are into Permaculture. Maggie's site has a DVD set that can only be found at her website, which is a three DVD set by Sepp that is amazing. Paul created a link to Maggie's site and the DVD set on the permies.com forum. Paul promises to pollute Maddies Facebook page in the near future.

Relevant Threads

The Stirling Engine at Tamera
Sepp Holzer and Trees in Hugelkultur
Water Landscapes


The Rebel Farmer by Sepp Holzer

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Sepp Holzer's Permakultur DVD

Roundwood Timber Framing by Ben Law

How to Make a Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield

Relevant Links

Permaculture Magazine
Mother Earth News
Tamera Website

Ben Law's books and permaculture philosophies Thread at Permies
patrick whitefield's books and permaculture philosophies Thread at Permies

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Yes, water landscape is amazing in Tamera. Here are some pictures from May 2013. All plants on pictures are not original, they were planted after making water catchments.

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