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Film & Book Reviews


Film directed by Lisa Heenan and Isaebella Doherty, created by Darren Doherty (Regrarians Media 2015),

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt


‘This is not just a film about farming, it is a reminder to us that the food we eat is farmed by people on land, in soil’, Darren Doherty.

Polyfaces follows the life and work of Joel Salatin and his family, creating a new farming model that will, in the words of Salatin, ‘heal the land, people and culture, one bite at a time’. Set in the stunning Shenandoah Valley in northern Virginia USA, Polyface Farm uses no chemicals, and feeds over 6000 families and many restaurants and food outlets within a three hour ‘foodshed’ (distance from the farm).

The Doherty-Heenan family spent four years with the Salatins, documenting the food system they’ve created. They show that there is an alternative model to the current one: one that regenerates the land and builds community, and will be able to feed families for generations to come.

For more about the film see


edited by Nick Rose (University of Queensland Press 2015)

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt


This is the book that inspired this issue of Pip, with its powerful message about why we need to act now to change the way our food is being produced and consumed.

As Nick Rose states, ‘Australia’s food system is more than just broken: it’s killing us. Now is the time to act, to make a difference – to change the world.’

This books shares the stories of some of Australia’s Fair Food pioneers, from growers to advocates, to community builders and more. The book provides hope that there is a better future possible, and will hopefully inspire you to help make it happen.

Edited by Fair Food pioneer Nick Rose, and with forewords by David Pocock and Guy Grossi, contributors include Michael Croft, Angelo Eliades, Cat Green, Tammi Jonas, Kirsten Larsen, Charles Massy, Fran Murrell, Robert Pekin, Carol Richards and Emma Kate Rose.

Available at the Pip shop:


by Tao Orion (Chelsea Green Publishing 2015).

Review by Beck Lowe


Beyond the War on Invasive Species highlights the blinkered thinking that underlies our society’s attitude to weedy plants: if it is not native it must be destroyed – more often than not with dangerous chemical herbicides.

With rational, well-referenced arguments, and insightful personal anecdotes, Orion encourages readers to re examine their beliefs on so-called invasive species, and to apply permaculture thinking to restoring and maintaining ecosystems.

Orion’s arguments will be familiar to many permaculture practitioners – weedy plants have long been an area of contention within the permaculture community and beyond. This book will challenge thinking around the role of so-called invasive species with well-researched facts and figures (albeit very USA-centric).

Orion uses permaculture ethics and principles as the underlying structure for her arguments. A rigorous, well-referenced text such as this, which takes permaculture as granted, represents a new phase in permaculture’s place in mainstream thought – as it should be: permaculture thinking is being used to solve difficult, contemporary problems.


by Trace Balla (Allen & Unwin 2014)

Review by Ruby Woodger Rosenfeldt, aged nine


Rivertime is a wonderful book about a young boy called Clancy and his Uncle Egg and their journey up the river. Uncle Egg takes Clancy on a bird watching trip in a canoe for ten days. They camp and swim at the jetties along the river. Clancy is always having trouble getting out of the canoe, but in the end he has a very good idea. On their journey they see lots of different birds – there are drawings of them all – and they meet interesting people. My favourite bit is when its ‘rivertime’, which is the break between the turning tides, when it’s all peaceful and quiet.


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