Michael Judd's recent release, Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, has proved to be far more than he promised in the book's Kickstarter campaign. Filled with gorgeous color photos and clear instructions, the book introduces the sometimes intimidating concepts of permaculture and environmentalism in an easy-to-digest format of greenie projects the average Joe (or Joanne) can do successfully. The topics range from rainwater harvesting to building an outdoor earthen cob pizza oven, raised beds to raising mushrooms, and that's just a snapshot of what's between the covers.
Although the word "permaculture" is part of the title, Edible Landscaping could easily be an intro book to all types of responsible environmental design; Judd's focus was to cater to a larger audience, most of whom may not be familiar with permacultural design, but want to implement more environmental action in their lives and homes. Judd realizes that his education and experience is vastly different than the average person, and so has designed his book to give the reader various points to join him where they feel most at comfortable in their knowledge and needs. In an interview with Scott Mann of The Permaculture Podcast, he states:
"Start with the simple concept of planting a fruit tree...most people just want a fruit tree in their front yard; they want it to work, and they want it to be successful, [they] don't want to work too hard, [they] want it to be easy and [they] want it to work."
Judd follows this notion throughout the entire book, offering at each educational stop an opportunity to absorb their learning goal, but also get a dazzling sneak peek at the big picture of how this lesson fits into the larger web of the environmental world.
The importance of aesthetics is not lost on this author, either. Edible Landscaping is the kind of book that HOAs, property managers, and entire towns can use as a guide for how to become more environmental and green without compromising their visuals; such organizations strive to maintain a degree of "maintained order" and tidiness to protect property and community values. They could easily use Judd's book as a rules and regulations format for managing water runoff and usage, increasing the visual appeal of their properties, and provide the additional bonuses of improved habitat and green space that is most sought after in quality managed communities.
Judd understands that the incorporating aesthetics is the hottest selling point for getting the environmental techniques of permaculture into the mainstream suburbs where millions of people reside. Suburbia is where the biggest impacts will happen, and this is why Edible Landscaping makes for a great read, and a great place for even the worst brown-thumbed plant-killer to start their path to improving their living space. If a copy was included with every new home purchase, the world could become a much better place.
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