My Top Ten Under-rated Permaculture Related Documentaries. Everybody is talking about Geoff Lawton's series of DVDs, but what else is out there that is worth watching. Here are a few of my favourites that you may not otherwise have heard about. 1) BBC - The Natural World - A Farm for the Future This is the show to give to your non permie friends, if you are having difficulty in explaining what the whole concept is all about. Wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates how to transform her family's farm in Devon into a low energy farm for the future, and discovers that nature holds the key. With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family's wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land. But last year's high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is. Alarmed by the answers, she explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel. With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, Rebecca learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy future. 2) BBC - The Natural World - Wild Harvest Britain's countryside is undergoing a revolution. For decades our farmland wildlife has been in serious decline - a depressing tale of hedges ripped out, marshes drained and fields saturated with chemicals. Now something remarkable is happening - wildlife is starting to recover, and across our countryside there's real optimism that we can combine wildlife with productive farms. Thanks to the dramatic rise of organic farming and a brand new system of subsidies, animals like lapwing, skylark, dormice and barn owls are making a comeback. In Devon horseshoe bats are benefiting from organic cow pats, in Yorkshire black grouse are thriving thanks to later hay making. Could our countryside one day return to its former wild glory? 3) How To Be A Gardener Even though permaculture is not mentioned once in the whole two series, this is show is great for the complete beginner and Alan Titchmarsh's enthusiasm is infectious. Titchmarsh's easy-yet-passionate manner is well known, and his calm enthusiasm is genuinely infectious, bringing the subject alive and making even the most black-fingered of people want to get outside. His trick is to keep the language and humorous tone as simple as possible. In fact, the only thing the show was criticised for was attempting to lure the youth market with trendy music (Moby!) and flashy direction. But if that encourages more generations of beautiful gardens, so what? Starting at absolute basics (what type of soil do you have?), this series is a veritable visual dictionary of gardening lore derived from a lifetime of practical experience 4) River Cottage Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has developed a cult status in the UK, but his shows are great and he completely deserves his new found fame. Every show is an interesting mix of smallholding, foraging and cooking. Fearnley-Whittingstall takes you through a journey, starting at the beginning where he purchases his first two pigs, some chickens and plots out his vegetable garden, to the end of his experiment at down sizing where the series ends with Hugh possessing a thriving polytunnel, pigs, cattle, sheep, chickens and numerous amusing tales of his journey from being a 'city downsizer' to an established 'dorset smallholder'. The 3 series' all include amusing anecdotes about Hugh's relationship with his animals to even the smallest critters such as mice and slugs. It also provides great information about animal welfare and cooking (with some great recipies included) and conveys a great sense of nostalgia and takes one back to the 'Great Britain' era where food was sourced locally and there was a great sense of community. 5) BBC - The Natural World – Satoyama - Japan's Secret Water Garden A fantastic showcase of the film making talent at the NHK Channel. Japanese documentaries are not often seen outside of their native country but they make some of the best quality shows on the planet. Satoyama parts one and two and excellent examples. In the heart of rural Japan lies Satoyama, a landscape of lakes and rivers home to an incredible variety of fish, water birds, snakes and dragonflies. This poetic documentary follows 83-year-old fisherman Sangoro Tanaka, who lives according to an ancient way of life that has much to teach the world about sustainable living. 6) Good Food, Good Business Good Food, Good Business is a collection of insights from growers, a nationally recognized grocer, an award winning restauranteur and national experts on the innovative connections being used to open new markets and increase profits. It focuses on the hot topics of organically and locally grown food. 7) Gardens of Destiny with Dan Jason In this 75 minute production, filmmaker, Jocelyn Demers meets Dan Jason on Salt Spring Island, Canada's west coast. Dan is an organic gardener with a fantastic selection of seeds, vegetables, grains, medicinal plants and flowers. He is also the head of the grassroots organization called the Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada, a network of Canadian gardeners who are preserving as much plant diversity as is possible. Mr. Jason has been a long time critic of the non-organic food system in North America. Jocelyn Demers explores Dan's garden and seed world and investigates what other experts from the agriculture milieu think about Dan's observations. 8) FRESH Fresh profiles the farmers, thinkers, and business people across the nation who are at the forefront of re-inventing food production in America. With a strong commitment to sustainability, they are changing how farms are run, how the land is cared for, and how food is distributed. Their success demonstrates that a new paradigm based on sustainable practices can be profitable and a model for our food system, if people choose to support it. 9) Tales From The Green valley Despite the hardships, the enthusiasm of the presenters really made me want of step back in time with them for this fascinating experiment. If you like this series then be sure to check out the latest show, The Victorian Farm. Five archaeologists and historians work on a farm for a year on the precept that they run it according to life four hundred years ago when King James I was ruler. There is no electricity, refrigeration, mains water, tractors or chemical pesticides. They have to literally live off the land by growing their own food and making their own clothes, with only four hundred-year-old manuals for point of reference. A BBC history TV series, Tales from the Green Valley, explores life on a British farm in the 17th century. This 12 x 1/2 hour television documentary, produced and directed by Peter Sommer was shown on BBC2 in the UK in autumn 2005, attracting large audiences and wide critical acclaim. ”programme of the year… gorgeous, cosy, informative… this series utterly beguiles… There is a genuine sense of watching history brought to life here.” Daily Mail Winner of a prestigious Learning on Screen Award 2006 given by the British Universities Film & Video Council. 10) Viktor Schauberger - Comprehend and Copy Nature The Austrian forester Viktor Schauberger (1885 – 1958) is today considered to be one of the pioneers of modern water research and holistic nature observation. Already during the first half of the 20th century, he warned insistently against the consequences of unrestricted exploitation of the environment. As an alternative, he propagated a radical rethinking of our attitudes towards nature, and the development of completely new methods of energy production that are in harmony with nature. He formulated his so-called "C & C" Principle: first, we have to comprehend nature, and then we should copy it. So where can you get all these great shows? Amazon and eBay are good choices if you are looking to build a DVD library. If you are on a tighter budget or worried about the pollution caused by manufacturing of optical discs, then downloading might be a better option. There are now large private internet communities that work together to maintain huge collections of film and TV. Many are invitation only and have strict rules about maintaining upload/download regulations. For British TV such as BBC and Channel 4 shows, TheBox is by far the best choice. Strictly run, it is an enormous treasure trove of material, with a friendly and helpful community. For non-UK shows, Demonoid is a good choice, although shows are not as well seeded here, so there are not so fast in downloading. Despite its name, Conspiracy Central is popular among greens and permies. That makes it an especially good choice for more off beat videos. This is the place to find Viktor Schauberger and other unrecognised geniuses that have yet to make it into the mainstream. Most private trackers usually have times when they have open sign ups. Otherwise please let me know if you are having problems, and I will try to sort you out with an invitation.