The Permaculture Podcast

    Interview: David Holmgren – RetroSuburbia

    In this episode recorded by co-host David Bilbrey, David Holmgren returns for the first of a two-part conversation about his latest book RetroSuburbia.


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    This work and the discussion today looks at how people are and can adapt in-place, as individuals and communities, by retrofitting where many of us live: in the spaces around cities, the suburbs.

    Throughout David Holmgren shares how we found ourselves in the suburbs and the importance of getting out of the debt, commute, and consume treadmill. Together, David and David also discuss self-reliance, the revitalization of suburbia, and understanding and applying the context of where we live to the creation of our solutions.

    You can find David Holmgren, his work, and his books at From there you can also buy RetroSuburbia! online, to have shipped wherever you live in the world.

    To go along with this episode, I also have a giveaway thanks to David and the folks at Holmgren Design, Permaculture Design Magazine, and

    I have a copy of RetroSuburbia! and copies of the 2020 Permaculture Calendar to share with listeners. I’ll be giving the book and a calendar away to one listener, and one copy each of the calendars to two others.

    You’ll find this giveaway here at starting on October 10th, 2019 and running until October 30th, 2019.

    If you’d like to make sure you get a copy of the calendar for yourself or to give to friends and family, you’ll find those at This year the calendar features awesome images to illustrate the principles of permaculture, thicker print stock, and better print quality. You get all of that for just $11.95 US, with 100% of the sales profits going to the Permafund, a charitable organization supporting permaculture projects around the world.

    Any conversation with David Holmgren leaves me with enough to ponder for weeks and months to come after I first listen, and new thoughts arising each time I revisit the interview. Until the release of the second half of this conversation comes out in a few weeks, I’d like you to consider the ideas of replication and context for the design and refit of the suburbs.

    How does where you live change and shape what you can accomplish? This includes things like what you would grow in your gardens. The rules and regulations that determine where you can live and who you can live with. Whether calling on help for repairs can come from your own sweat equity, the capitalist economy, or an informal network of support. And what sustainable solutions are permitted or illegal.

    Think about those for now, and we’ll revisit this in the closing notes of the next episode.

    From here, the next interview is the second half of the conversation with David Holmgren. Until then, spend each day retrofitting suburbia, while taking care of Earth, yourself, and each other.

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