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Documentary featuring Hugelkultur, Earthworks and the Bad Boy of Permaculture. With a pond, a swale and a hugelkultur bed on a terrace.
Documentary featuring Hugelkultur, Earthworks and the Bad Boy of Permaculture. With a pond, a swale and a hugelkultur bed on a terrace.
1,404 backers pledged $65,089 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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To get more information about this kickstarter, the final product, future kickstarters of mine, other stuff about gardening, permaculture and my continuing plots on world domination, please sign up for my daily-ish email

A fancy video camera followed me around as I taught a workshop last Spring. I was told they were going to do a kickstarter and make a DVD. So I wished them well and tried to be a good in-front-of-the-camera guy (and not bump my microphone too often). In the end, the feedback was that the workshop was excellent. Later, my friend Bart and I did a kickstarter about a rocket mass heater workshop and we did really well! And the final product turned out really good too! Next thing ya know, all the footage from the earthworks workshop was handed to me and Bart and we were asked to try a kickstarter. Spiffy!

it rained at the end of the second day and filled the pond
it rained at the end of the second day and filled the pond

This workshop covered three days. The intent was to build, at the very least, one pond, one hugelkultur bed and one swale. We accomplished that plus several other things. And a lot of emphasis should be placed that we want to build a pond WITHOUT a liner! 

everybody got a chance to drive the excavator
everybody got a chance to drive the excavator

 After looking over all the footage, the plan is to squeeze three days of workshop into three information packed DVDs of workshop concentrate (just add water). The whole thing will be in chronological order, so we can convey the actual workshop experience as closely as possible. 

 DVD 1: Sealing a Pond Without a Liner 

 At the high point of the property, water is rushing in whenever it rains. This water is cutting a deep channel through the property. The idea is that we would like to capture this water and use it to create an oasis! Of course, water coming off of a road will probably contain some heavy metals and petroleum residue. So we need to clean the water first. A pond is dug so that the heavy metals will sink to the bottom of the pond, and gross stuff that floats (like oil) will be caught by the vegetation. We then do some minor re-shaping to the road so the water will enter the pond. 

some of the stuff to plant around the pond
some of the stuff to plant around the pond

DVD 2: Ditches and Swales 

 Several ideas are mapped out about where to put in some swales. The land owner would eventually like a natural swimming pool, so we decide to put a finger on the pond to route the water to the natural swimming pool. And just in case we get an exceptionally heavy rain event, we extend the finger to a swale. The swale is designed to soak the excess water into the land. We demonstrate the use of laser levels to make sure our finger runs downhill and the swale is level. 

 DVD 3: Hugelkultur and Terracing 

 Now we talk about food production. This location gets frost in the winter and can be really hot in the summer. A lot of the surrounding area looks very desert like. We decide to make a hugelkultur bed shaped into a sun scoop. And the angle of the slope is optimized to the level of the sun in winter. We also talk about how swales are excellent at creating frost pockets which works to your advantage in the summer. What type of wood and different variations for hugelkultur are covered. A terrace is constructed to hold the hugelkultur bed. 

some of the wood to go inside the hugelkultur bed
some of the wood to go inside the hugelkultur bed

 Just like the last kickstarter, Bart will add in lots of animations to help drive the points home. So in a lot of ways, this will be even better than the original workshop! 

We're putting a lot more emphasis on the streaming this time.  Last time, streaming was added in about halfway through the kickstarter and we didn't encourage it.  This time, we think streaming gets you higher quality; product delivery several weeks earlier; no plastics involved; no packaging to fill dumps; no petroleum burned in delivery.

Micro Documentary on Hugelkultur for Gardeners for $1 and up

Bart and I are going to create a micro documentary for all of the supporters.  It is being created now.   It will be animation rich and a very polished, professional creation.  Topics covered will include: How to shape your landscape to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer; encouraging diversity inside the hugelkultur as well as outside; organic vs. permaculture.

While the full 3-DVD set is for urban gardeners as well as people with acreage, and the full 3-DVD set will contain far more information on hugelkultur, this micro documentary will be focused on gardening and have no focus on projects with larger acreage.

As an added bonus, if the project hits 3000 or more supporters, we will put it out for free to the world!

Hot Dog!  We're funded!  Time for stretch goals

We'll get right to work on the editing and creating the animations.   In the meantime, we've come up with some ideas for stretch goals:

if we raise $30,000 - WE DID!

We will return to the site to take more video and interview the land owner, Alden, to see what he thinks of the work we have done.

if we raise $40,000 - WE DID!

Bart has some ideas for extra super fancy animations to add.  You can see me point at some soil and TREES LEAP OUT OF THE GROUND!  Zowie!  So this will be BETTER than the actual workshop!

if we raise $50,000

We will repeat the whole workshop using my excavator (which is MUCH larger than the one in the video) plus we will rent a super, freaky big jumbo excavator.  And people can come and participate and even drive the excavators.  This way we will have lots more footage to choose from to make a more thorough video experience.

if we raise $60,000

We will create a 15 foot tall berm to reduce the wind, complete with trails so we can harvest from it.  Plus we will create the foundation for growing a lemon tree outside in Montana.  And the footage from both of these will be in the video.

World Domination

Bart has completed the first draft of the world domination animation.  First, here is the world domination animation from the rocket mass heater 4-DVD set:

pyronauts keen on world domination
pyronauts keen on world domination

And here is the current status of the new one!

charmers of nature keen on world domination
charmers of nature keen on world domination

Thanks!

I want to say thanks to Jack Spirko of TheSurvivalPodcast and BrinkOfFreedom for supporting this kickstarter.  His generous push has brought a lot of funding here!   Thanks Jack!

 Heaps of thanks goes to Diego Footer of the Permaculture Voices conference for arranging the workshop and the raw video footage! Plus to Alden Hough for giving us a place to play. 

 This workshop and this video are born from the community interactions at permies.com

 The amazing kickstarter video and all the real work for this project is done by Barthélémy Glumineau of greenhouseprod.com.

Risks and challenges

This is my fourth kickstarter (the previous three were successful and everything was delivered as promised). And this is my second attempt to do the workshop-to-DVD thing. On the last one, we had delays from stuff going back and forth between Canada and the US. Plus delays with USPS getting the DVDs to people. We already have plans on how to mitigate that. Last time we were going to do the streaming through youtube - but that turned out to be rather broken. So we quickly moved to vimeo and that seems to be working.

So this question about "risks and challenges" kinda freaks me out - because what have we not thought of? What might come up this time that didn't come up last time?

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Access to a first class micro documentary about full scale hugelkultur gardening/farming. Topics covered will include: How to shape your landscape to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer; encouragind diversity inside the hugelkultur as well as outside; organic vs. permaculture. This video will be made available to all supporters of this kickstarter.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    $5 THANKS: get your name listed (optionally) at permies.com as a contributor to this project. Plus get access to a "secret inner circle" forum at permies.com.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Get your name listed at the beginning of the micro documentary under the heading "This documentary was funded through kickstarter by:" This reward also comes with all rewards greater than $10. Includes "THANKS"

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    get 120 podcasts discussing earthworks, permaculture, rocket mass heaters, homesteading, eco building, early retirement, food forests, gardening, greywater, chickens, pigs, cattle, beyond organic, soil, food as medicine ... plus the "THANKS" package.

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    Pledge $24 or more About $24

    PODS: get 120 podcasts from above, plus 140 more, plus the 10 podcast review of "Just Enough", the 11 podcast review of "Botany in a Day", and the 21 podcast review of "Sepp Holzer's Permaculture", plus "THANKS".

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    STREAMING: All three DVDs made available to you via streaming. No physical DVDs (or the plastics in manufacture or the petroleum in the shipping) plus higher quality than the DVDs. You can watch your movies over and over for several years. And streaming is available weeks before the DVDs. Plus "PODS".

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    3-DVD pack plus "PODS".

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    3-DVD pack plus two decks of permaculture playing cards plus PODS

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    3-DVD pack and/or streaming, plus get your name listed at the end of all three DVDs under "these people paid actual money to see their name here". Plus "PODS".

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    3-DVD pack and/or streaming, plus get your name listed at the end of all three DVDs under "these people paid actual money to see their name here". Plus get the streaming version of soon-to-be-released "Permaculture Orchard" plus get the streaming version of the 4-DVD set "Wood Burning Stoves 2.0" featuring rocket mass heaters, rocket stoves and fire science plus "PODS".

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    WORLD DOMINATION: everything in the $150 reward plus plus your name goes into the credits of all three DVDs as "charmers of nature keen on world domination" with a bit of animation

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE CARE PACKAGE: 3-DVD pack and/or streaming, plus get your name listed at the end of all three DVDs under "these people paid actual money to see their name here". Plus four decks of the Permaculture Playing Cards plus the 4-DVD set "Wood Burning Stoves 2.0" featuring rocket mass heaters, rocket stoves and fire science plus one permies.com mug plus one CodeRanch.com mug plus one shirt (*) plus "PODS".

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    ACTIVE ROLE: everything in "WORLD DOMINATION" plus access to the draft versions of the DVDs and ability to make suggestions; plus you get to insert one question which I will answer in one DVD - giving you credit for the question.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    3-DVD pack and/or streaming, plus listed in the trailing credits as associate producer for one DVD plus "PODS"

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: everything in "ACTIVE ROLE" plus your name appears in the beginning and ending credits as "Executive Producer" for one DVD

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    Pledge $1,600 or more About $1,600

    ENTOURAGE: Come with me to the Permaculture Voices conference! This reward comes with full access for two people to attend the conference, plus two of everything in the $150 reward.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    SUPREME EXECUTIVE PRODUCER WITH BACON, CHEESE AND SPARKLES: everything in "ACTIVE ROLE" plus your name appears in the beginning and ending credits as "Supreme Executive Producer with Bacon, Cheese and Sparkles" (open to possible title modifications) for one DVD plus this status is reflected on the box

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Funding period

- (31 days)