Fertile Edges: Regenerating Land, Culture and Hope
Reviewed by Dr. Daniel Christian Wahl

Fertile Edges: Regenerating land, culture and hope

By Maddy Harland
Permanent Publications
September 2017
176 Pages
Size: 148mm x 210mm

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Maddy Harland is the editor of Permaculture International and many excellent books that Permanent Publications has made accessible to the movement. This puts her in an excellent position to act as a midwife to the world many of us are longing to wakeup in. Some of us have even dedicated our lives to help co-create it.

Fertile Edges  –Regenerating Land, Culture and Hope weaves the patterns, people, and processes that are contributing to the emergence of diverse regenerative cultures everywhere into a beautiful tapestry of hope and courage to step up to the great work of our times and be part of the change. On the one hand, the tapestry offers glimpses of the more beautiful world many us can already hear breathing gently in our quiet moments  –  to paraphrase Charles Eisenstein and Arundhati Roy.

On the other hand, the tapestry invites us to face the horrors we are still bestowing on fellow human beings and the wider community of life. As Joanna Macy so aptly described, we need to act as hospice workers to a dying system that is structurally degenerative and unsustainable, and at the same time as midwives of the new: a regenerative human impact on Earth.

The book spans 25 years, hence giving us an opportunity to reflect where we have come from, what has changed, what still needs transforming, and how we can find the strength to keep getting up every morning with the firm commitment to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Maddy’s editorials offer us glimpses of multiple historical arches: humanity’s response to climate change, the emergence of the permaculture, ecovillage, and transition town movements, the fight against fossil and nuclear energy and for the shift to renewables, the slow transition towards a healthy food system that heals people and planet, the struggle against war and injustice… Maddy invites us to reframe these struggles as the privilege of being alive in the time of the ‘Great Turning’, able to make a difference every day anew.

Fertile Edges pays homage to many of our fellow change agents, who chose to teach by the example of their lives, and offers a reminder of all the amazing work that is already going on around the globe.

Paying attention to the visionaries dedicated to transforming entire systems in equal measure as celebrating the unsung local heroes whose tireless work is offering those vital inspirations that come from creating pockets of a regenerative future in the present. Fertile Edges is also a celebration of the elders of the permaculture movement. Giving homage to Bill Mollison, David Holmgren and Patrick Whitefield among many others.

Fertile Edges is also somewhat autobiographical and a humble celebration of a servant leader who has given a voice to a whole movement of hopeful and committed human beings and a stage to their stories and their experiments in how to tread more lightly on this beautiful planet that has been entrusted by our ancestors so that we may ensure that future generations of life can thrive in shared abundance.

Dr. Daniel Christian Wahl works internationally as a consultant and educator in regenerative development, and is the author of Designing Regenerative Cultures.