I ran across “The Permaculture Handbook: Garden farming for Town and Country” by Peter Bane while ordering another Permaculture book on Amazon. While Mr. Bane is a fellow Hoosier and I was aware of his work (I had even considered his PDC but the timing was bad for me), I had somehow missed its 2012 publication.
Given the fact that I had enjoyed the few talks of his that have found their way to youtube and the very reasonable price of the text, I decided to give it a shot.
When I started out, I almost put it down. Its just wasn’t speaking to me. It is written in a very liberal minded voice (not a bad thing, just not particularly suited to my worldview) and very early one Mr. Bane uses an academic tool, known as a pattern language…which is another thing that just doesn’t speak to me. Realizing I was not into the meat of the book, I elected to push through it and see what came of it.
Before I go on, I should mention that while I am not a fan of the style, Mr. Bane’s uses the pattern language very well to explain many of the design principles, features, and functions of Permaculture in an interdependent format that is both easily understood and complete. Due to this alone, I would recommend this book to anyone who is just starting on their Permaculture journey as many of these design principles, features, and functions are not as thoroughly explained elsewhere and tend to end up being stumbling blocks.
But anyway, I pushed through…and then I got to the good stuff.
As we enter Part 2 of the book, titled “Elements”, Mr. Bane immediately starts giving what so many Permaculture books do not. Direct instructions concerning every aspect of designing and maintaining a productive Permaculture food system. Each of the chapters in this section:
Land- Scale and Strategies
Labor- Can you lend a helping hand?
Running on Sunshine
Water from another Time
Soil -the Real Dirt
Plants, Crops, and Seeds
Setting Plant Priorities
Animals for the Garden Farm
Living With Wildlife
Trees and Shrubs, Orchards, Woodlands, and Forest Gardens
Productive Trees and Where to Grow Them
Structures Energy and Technology
each and every one of them is just detailed enough to give the reader the confidence and information to move forward and written just loosely enough to be of value in a wide variety of locations.
I found this section of the book to be a most useful guide and would recommend it both to students for further study and to instructors trying to help students “get over the humps”, where students frequently get stuck when learning design.
The third part of the book, titled “Outcomes”, paints an image of possibility that should help budding Permaculturists envision the power that their new found education has provided them, and how they can use it to change the world.
So in summary, I think this book will serve the Permaculture community and the world as a whole very well, especially if it can find its way into the hands of as many students as possible. This book would serve especially well on college campus’ and other places where liberal minded youth are likely to find it.
This book is of course available on Amazon, and here is a link to purchase it.