“Inhabit” is a documentary film project that aims to expand the reach and relatability of permaculture. Permaculture is a design science based on the observation and replication of patterns and relationships found in nature; it is an approach to designing sustainable systems of agriculture, community, economics, politics, and more.

We will travel in a solar and veggie-oil-powered bus documenting the people and projects currently giving voice to permaculture in the Northeast. We will look at permaculture practices in rural, suburban, and urban environments to break away from the conception of it being purely agricultural, and we will explore the breadth of its application to current local and global challenges - from issues of food, water, and medicine, to governance, economy, and culture.

Mark Shepard 

Mark is the author of the acclaimed Restoration Agriculture, a guide to perennial ecosystem agriculture. He is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises and runs New Forest Farm, where we filmed, which is a 106-acre perennial agriculture forest that uses oak savanna, successional brush land and eastern woodlands as an ecological model. 

Charles Eisenstein

Charles is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. He is author of The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, Sacred Economics, and The Ascent of Humanity. Each of these books has gained critical acclaim and has marked Charles as a leading visionary for a new culture and economy. 

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa organizes the 1500+ member Portland Maine Permaculture group and is the Director of its non-profit home, The Resilience Hub. Lisa sits on the board of the Permaculture Institute of the Northeast and on the Grantmaking Committee of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. Lisa participates in the Eat Local Foods Coalition, the Maine Food Strategy and the Portland Mayor's Initiative for Healthy Sustainable Food Systems. She is also active in the Cape Farm Alliance, Slow Food Portland, Portland Food Coop, Hour Exchange Portland and is a Master Food Preserver and Master Composter. She and her family are actively converting their 1/3 acre property into a demonstration site for resilient and abundant "post-carbon" living. We filmed at her property, at a permablitz (an event organized by the Portland Maine Permaculture Group), and at the Resilience Hub.

Rhamis Kent

Rhamis is a consultant with formal training in mechanical engineering and permaculture-based regenerative whole systems design. He previously worked for the renowned American inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen at DEKA Research & Development, and more recently has worked with permaculturist Geoff Lawton on the development of Masdar City in UAE after Geoff and his consulting company (Permaculture Sustainable Consultancy) were contracted to identify solutions which fit the challenging zero emissions/carbon neutral design constraint of the project. Most recently, Rhamis collaborated with environmental filmmaker John D. Liu in the making of a documentary called "Green Gold," highlighting the topic of global ecosystem restoration work. We filmed with him in Burlington Vermont, before he flew back to his home in the UK.

Geoff Lawton 

Geoff is one of the early fathers of permaculture; he worked closely with Bill Mollison, the originator of permaculture, for many years. Since 1985, Geoff has undertaken a large number of jobs consulting, designing, teaching and implementing in over thirty countries around the world. Clients have included private individuals, groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, non-governmental organizations and multinational companies. He has extensive experience in many climates, and is most well-known for his work with “Greening the Desert,” a film that captured the process of using water harvesting to create food bearing land in a dessert near the Dead Sea. He developed and runs The Permaculture Research Institute, which is a global networking centre for permaculture projects. We filmed with him in Amherst, MA at the end of his US tour.

Dave Jacke

Dave is the main author of the seminal Edible Forest Gardens - a two-volume book on ecological garden design. The book has received multiple awards, including the American Horticultural Society Garden Book of the Year and ForeWord Magazine Home and Garden Gold Medal Book of the Year Award. Dave has been a student of ecology and design since the 1970s, and has run his own ecological design firm—Dynamics Ecological Design—since 1984. We filmed him at the Wellesley   Permaculture Demonstration site, which he is designing as a research center - studying polycultures and plant chemistry.

Gwen Hallsmith

Gwen is the former Director of Planning & Community Development for Montpelier, VT. She is the founder and Executive Director of Global Community Initiatives (GCI) and has over 25 years of experience working with municipal, regional, and state government in the United States and internationally. She is an authority on permaculture economics and is a leading political figure in the creation of a Vermont State bank. We filmed her at the Montpelier Capital building. 

Eric Toensmeier

Eric has spent twenty years exploring edible and useful plants of the world and their use in perennial agroecosystems. He is the author of Perennial Vegetables and the new Paradise Lot, and he is the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke. His current project is promoting perennial farming systems, including agroforestry and perennial staple crops, as a strategy to sequester carbon while restoring degraded lands, and providing food, fuel and income, and ecosystem services. Eric is a founding Board member of the Apios Institute for Regenerative Perennial Agriculture and recently founded the Bosque Comestible project, an online Spanish-language user-generated database of useful perennials for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, with an international team. We filmed at his urban garden, which is a model of how to apply permaculture to a small space with poor soils, featuring over 200 useful perennial and self-seeding species on 1/10 of an acre. 

Ben Falk

Ben is the author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead. He has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds a master’s degree in land-use planning and design. He has conducted nearly 200 site development consultations across New England and facilitated dozens of courses on permaculture design, property selection, microclimate design, and design for climate change. He is the founder of Whole Systems Design, and is researching cold climate permaculture farming at his site in Vermont. He is a leading authority on permaculture homesteading. We filmed him at his own homestead.

Lisa Depiano

Lisa is a focal member of Pedal People in Northampton, MA - a permaculture inspired business that facilitates the bike powered pickup of home compost/trash. She is a certified permaculture designer/teacher and faculty member for the Yestermorrow Design/Build School. She is a co-founder of the Mobile Design Lab, a collective of designers transforming spaces and environmental policies in western, MA. We filmed her at the Mobile Design Lab office and on a bicycle route for Pedal People.

Michael Phillips

Michael is the author of The Holistic Orchard: Growing Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way. He is using the power and strength of forest ecology to grow apples in a way that mimics natural succession, and he has spent 20 years debunking the belief that apples cannot survive without pesticides. We filmed him at his orchard/home in New Hampshire.

Scott Kellogg

Scott is the author of Toolbox for Sustainable City Living, a guide to urban permaculture. He is a designer and teacher based out of Albany, NY, and he is the founder of the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center there, where we filmed.

Steve Whitman

Steve is a professional planner, permaculture teacher, and educator based in New Hampshire. He is a faculty member at Plymouth State University and teaches courses both in the US and internationally on permaculture design and community planning. He also collaborates with others as a planning consultant assisting municipalities and watersheds to build resilient communities through ecological design. He has converted his half acre suburban property into a thriving permaculture demonstration site focused on energy efficiency, habitat creation, and veganic food production.  We filmed at his home in Plymouth, NH.

Susana Kaye Lein

Susana is founder and manager of Salamander Springs Farm - a small, intensive farm producing a wide range of market crops, including grains & dry beans, without pesticides or chemical fertilizers of any kind and without mechanized tillage. The farm is inspired by no-till methods presented by Masanobu Fukoaka, and it is producing a great amount of staple food crops while continually building soil health. The farm is located in Berea, KY, where we did our filming. We also captured her selling produce at the Berea market.

Mark Krawczyk

Mark is a permaculture designer, traditional woodworker, natural builder and community organizer in Burlington, VT. He owns and operates Keyline Vermont (a permaculture design/consulting business), RivenWoodCrafts (a traditional woodcraft company), is a member of Seven Generations Natural Builders and is a founding member of the community group Burlington Permaculture. We filmed at his wood working studio in Burlington.

Center For Environmental Transformation

The Camden Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) is an urban farm and organization in Camden, NJ - a city that faces huge economic and social depression. They are using regenerative ecological systems such as waste stream catchment to restore food security and to transform degraded neighborhoods. We filmed in various garden locations around the waterfront neighborhoods, speaking with current managers, organizers, and residents.