Does the phrase ‘I was listening to this really interesting podcast…’ sound all too familiar? If you’re keen to understand the trend friends and colleagues have been raving about, we’re here to guide you. This is a corner of the online world worth getting to know – one where the conversation around permaculture is buzzing.
Words, Alice Allan
An ancient technology (in Internet years)
Podcasts are recorded conversations you can listen to anywhere, anytime. These conversations come in many forms, from the thoughts of a lone podcaster recording in their bedroom to in-depth interviews and polished documentary-style pieces.
Podcasts take their name from Apple’s iPod (remember those?) and the traditional broadcast. The format is only around 12 years old, but in that time it’s gone from a niche activity to one that establishments like the ABC have embraced.
Listen while you work
One advantage podcasts have over radio shows is mobility. With a podcast in your ears a long commute, huge pile of laundry or frustrating wait at the doctor’s office becomes an opportunity to learn. There’s an intimacy about podcasts as well – they tend to run much longer than the average radio segment, giving creators time to dig deep into an idea.
Another reason podcasts have become so popular is the huge range of topics they cover. Because anyone with a microphone and Internet connection can create one, almost any area you can think of has at least one podcast episode (or entire program) devoted to it.
Best of all, the vast majority of podcasts are completely free to download. If they are supported by ads, there’s always the option to hit the fast forward button.
Options for listening on your laptop or desktop
- Download iTunes (free for Mac and PC) and head to the ‘store’ section. From there, search by keyword or browse by topic to find a show you’re interested in.
You can download or stream each episode – either way, iTunes will remember your place if you need to stop and come back later. We also recommend checking the ‘listeners also subscribed to’ list at the bottom of each podcast page for great recommendations.
- Head to Soundcloud.com and start with a keyword search. Unfortunately Soundcloud won’t save your place, but it does give you options to create playlists, share episodes on Facebook and other platforms, and get updates from the podcasts you’re most interested in.
- Go to Google. Podcast creators usually offer episodes on their own websites as well as iTunes and Soundcloud, which allows you to skip the third-party platform and go straight to the source.
Listening on your mobile device
- Synch with iTunes. Your can connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with your iTunes library so all your podcasts are available on your device (ready to start from where you last stopped listening).
- Get the app. Whether you’re using an iPhone or running Android, you can choose from a huge range of apps that will help you find and manage your podcasts. Popular free options include Overcast, Stitcher Radio, TuneIn Radio and Podbean. If you’re willing to invest a few dollars, Pocket Casts is a solid choice for $3.99.
So many podcasts! Help!
With well over 100,000 podcasts currently available, finding one that’s worth your time can feel like work. We’ve chosen some interesting options from around the world to get you started.
Our top 10 permaculture podcasts
- Sustainable World Radio. A US-based podcast offering a huge back catalogue of episodes on everything from worm farming to eco villages.
- The Slow Home Podcast. Australian slow living advocate Brooke McAlary’s must-listen show for anyone interested in a more sustainable lifestyle.
- The Hungry Gardener. A new Australian entry from Bayside-based community gardener Fabian Capomolla, who shares his passion for growing food and interviews the experts.
- DIY Food Supply. In his fantastic midwestern accent, Robb Smith guides you through ideas on natural pest control, raising goats, growing perennial veggies and much more.
- The Permalogues. Lower-tech but no less enjoyable, this British offering gives interviewees plenty of space to share their knowledge.
- Permaculture Velocity. A great library of older episodes for those who only have 10-15 minutes to spare but still want a dose of practical knowledge.
- Permaculture Mag Podcast. A relatively new documentary-style show sharing a U K perspective on permaculture issues.
- The Permaculture Podcast. Another US option with over 1,000 episodes to discover (check the website for a handy list of categories).
- Permaculture Tonight. A Canadian interview podcast covering big and small issues, from starting a permaculture business to composting.
- Pip Podcast. We can’t forget to mention our own contribution to the world of permaculture podcasting. We’re just getting started, so stay tuned for expert interviews, knowledge sharing sessions and plenty of practical ideas.
Of course, we’d love to hear your recommendations. Comment below with your own tips!