David Holmgren on Downshifting to a Resilient Future:

Balancing the larger world context with local, practical, and creative solutions.



Part 1 of the podcast

In part 1 of 3 we hear from David Holmgren, the co-founder of permaculture, about the birth of permaculture over 40 years ago. Learn about what inspired the concept of permaculture, permanent agriculture, working with nature, sustainability, and how to take new industry concepts and have them become widely accepted. David also discusses what it’s like when your theory takes on a life of its own and the balance of being both a fan and critic.


You can listen to part 1 here:


Listen in and learn about:

  • How war taught him to question authority and focus on creating the world we want
  • Creating the concept of permaculture with Bill Mollison
  • Developing the skills for environmental design needed by landscape architects
  • Creating the permaculture design course
  • Being both a fan and critic of a revolutionary concept that you helped develop
  • How to craft and spread new concepts in an industry
  • The meaning of permanent agriculture.

Part 2 of the podcast


In part 2 of 3 we hear from David Holmgren, the co-founder of permaculture, about his definition of permaculture, soil conservation and regenerative practices, creating civilization systems that can withstand the test of time, and creative reuse of resources instead of recycling or composting. Learn about David’s new book: Retrosuburbia and how to rebuild economies, habits, and biological landscapes on a household level.


You can listen to part 2 here:



Listen in and learn about:

  • David’s definition of permaculture 
  • Permaculture Design Courses and design thinking in agriculture 
  • Soil conservation and regenerative practices 
  • Creating civilization systems that can withstand the test of time 
  • How wasteful systems create huge amounts of surplus organic matter that need to be reused 
  • Creative reuse of resources instead of recycling or composting 
  • David’s new book: RetroSuburbia  
  • Rebuilding local economies, buildings, our habits, and the biological landscapes on a household scale 
  • Self-reliance vs community engagement to reinvigorate micro food systems  
  • Relating household agriculture to the larger food system 

Part 3 of the podcast


In the final part of our interview with David Holmgren, the co-founder of permaculture talks soil, owning your mistakes, and balancing food production in limited spaces. He also shares what it’s like to live a voluntarily simplistic life, and how children absorb knowledge just by being around parents in agriculture. Listen in for some of his failures and successes, as well as what drives him and his advice for others.


You can listen to part 3 here:



Listen in and learn about:

  • Soil development and how to fix a decade of mistakes 
  • Understanding soil tests to properly amend the soil for long term 
  • Owning your mistakes and fixing them instead of walking away 
  • Balancing food production in limited spaces 
  • How children absorb gardening knowledge even if they don’t actively participate in your garden 
  • Voluntary simplicity and how to live your life with this concept  

As well as: 

 His failure – Mistakes with building his soil that only showed up over several years and required adjustments. 

His success – His son and his self-taught agriculture work in the dairy system. 

His drive – Creating the world he wants to live in. 

His advice – Connect to your sources of sustenance.  

       *   *   *

Visit the Urban Farm U site here.


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