Through the summer months, we toil in the warm sun and take pleasure in tending our green spaces, but once we’ve wrapped up our gardens in preparation for winter, some of us may be left with a void to fill. There are certainly indoor plants and kitchen gardens to tend to — plus planning for next spring is always a pleasure — but you may feel that yearning for the great outdoors and the warm expanse of summer greenery that brings with it a sense of excitement.
So, what can we do to feed our love and curiosity for plants as we hunker down for winter? Well, luckily, the cooler months are a great time to explore new ideas and to gain food for thought, allowing us to dive into different gardening topics that may fuel inspiration for the coming spring.
One such topic that should be a focus for everyone right now is the idea of exploring sustainable gardening practices and how we can apply these earth supporting techniques to our green spaces.
With many fantastic documentaries dedicated to the topic, one could spend weeks as a couch potato on a viewing binge (but who has time for that, unless you’re a professional movie critic!).
So, where to start? Well, let’s take a look at three documentaries out of many, which are superb examples of films that investigate the realm of sustainability and how gardening can be a way of life that both heals and fosters our needs as well as the planet’s.
Each one is sure to be of interest and will no doubt broaden the mind.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look.
Growing Cities (2013)
This film takes us on a journey across America, as two filmmakers named Andrew and Dan learn about various gardening techniques and initiatives being brought about all over the country by innercity individuals and communities.
Filled with inspiring interviews of people who are making a difference through urban gardening, this documentary gets into how our society currently distributes and accesses food and how these current methods impact us and our environment. At its core, the film points out that many solutions lie within localized gardening, which allows people in food deserts to access fresh produce that’s untampered with, healthy, and affordable.
The idea of sustainable city living is a growing trend that can be adopted, no matter where you live. And, by reimagining our urban spaces, we find that growing fresh food is not only possible, but is beneficial. With examples seen on rooftop green spaces, in backyard chicken coops, small apiaries, and empty lots, the urban gardening movement is expanding.
Not only does Growing Cities uncover the history and evolution of city gardening, but it also gets into some strange rules that have prevented people from growing their own produce in urban environments, and how many are overcoming this on their own terms.
Further to this, the film discusses how gardening creates opportunities and bonds for communities, improves health and wellbeing, and gives people the chance to be self-sustaining. It also teaches the next generation about the valuable skills attributed to growing food and working with the earth.
The film proves that by reimagining how we use our spaces, gardening can help society live better as a whole.
A Simpler Way: Crisis As Opportunity (2016)
This insightful multi-award-winning documentary discusses how our current societal setup is not maintainable and that changes must take place for us to survive, and that by leading a simpler life that’s free of excess and consumerism is the possible answer.
A Simpler Way invites us to think about how our economy currently works and how we need to shift our thinking to one that’s more localized, simpler, and holistic while also discussing how we need to take action now to make these changes for the betterment of the world.
Taking us to the Australian countryside, this film focuses on a group of strangers who take part in a 12-month social and sustainability experiment and gives a fascinating glimpse into community living, where literally everything is shared, unearthing how individuals work together through all sorts of trials and tribulations.
Living off the land, the group manages to build homes out of mainly recycled scrap materials left over from renovation projects, demolition, and construction sites, as well as from mud.
They explore how to work with the earth and grow food using permaculture techniques in a shared space using zero chemicals. Relying on herbs and a variety of plants that work off of one another, the community builds a garden that self-generates and produces very little waste while supplementing what they can’t grow with locally sourced, environmentally friendly options.
Concluding this year-long experiment, it’s believed that not only are people generally happier in community setups where they can work with the land, but this lifestyle is also beneficial to the earth.
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (2015)
As the title suggests, this insightful film focuses on how permaculture is a force for good and how we should look to practice this beneficial method of gardening and farming as much as possible since our actions affect everything around us.
Interviewing a variety of people who’ve studied permaculture techniques and turned them into success stories amidst diverse rural and urban environments, Inhabit teaches us that we should look to nature and work with the environment around us to produce beneficial results.
By using permaculture methods instead of current agricultural practices, we can create spaces that would successfully feed both livestock and ourselves while giving nutrients back to the earth, as opposed to depleting its resources, ultimately lessening our footprint.
By mimicking nature, this method looks to work with the earth, leaving naturally occurring local plants to work off of one another, creating regenerative environments that self-produce food sources with little manipulation by humans.
Discussing the many creative ways we can incorporate natural farming methods into our daily lives, the film suggests that permaculture may be the solution to many of our current environmental and food distribution problems, as well as global inequalities.
The film promotes us to look at our planet’s issues in a holistic light and inspires us to look at what is being done already by many people and what is still possible if we also take part.
By taking the time to check out these insightful documentaries, we can all enjoy winter’s downtime and learn a thing or two about how we may want to approach our green spaces once the seasons change.
Sure, we may or may not all be on the same page with everything said in some of these films, but that’s the beauty of documentaries — they promote thought-provoking conversation and will hopefully plant the seeds of inspiration in each of us to discover more.
After all, gardening and sustainability is certainly a worthy subject to explore, and with so many films out there that touch on the many creative ideas, and solutions surrounding this topic, you’ll surely find something that speaks to you.