If there was a way to farm or garden without having to weed, prune, water, use fertilizer or pestides would we do it? The answer would seem to be 100% YES! But unfortunately it’s not something we are used to hearing or think is remotely possible.
Welcome to the world of permaculture. It is defined as “permanent agriculture”- where the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. Or simply stated as farming along with Mother Nature alone.
Masanobu Fukuoka (February 2, 1913 â€“ August 16, 2008) is a pioneer in the world of permaculture. He has written numerous books on the subject, starting with The One-Straw Revolution.
Abundant Rice field growing in Japan. Photo by Kjeld Duits. Duits has written a great article about Fukuoka: Farmer- Philosopher.
Here is a little more info about Fukuoka:
“At age 25, he began to doubt the wisdom of modern agricultural science. He eventually quit his job as a research scientist, and returned to his family’s farm on the island of Shikoku in Southern Japan to grow organic mikans. From that point on he devoted his life to developing a unique small scale organic farming system that does not require weeding, pesticide or fertilizer applications, or tilling.”
He is also considered to be a philosopher as well. Definitely someone I wished I had heard about sooner.
Bill Mollison is another pioneer of permaculture. Declared as “Ecologist of the Century” in Australia. Here is some info I’ve found about him from an interview with Seeds of Change.
“Permaculture is nothing less than a “sustainable earth-care system” capable of providing our food, energy, shelter, and other needs while conserving the world’s resources.”
He advocates local food production and regional self reliance.
Another amazing farmer to note in the world of permaculture is Sepp Holzer of Austria. Holzer’s farm high up in the Austrian mountains is a very unlikely place to be farming. But he’s been doing it successfully for the past few decades.
His farm includes forest gardens, terraces, and ponds. There are fruit orchards, including fruits you can’t imagine would grow in such high altitudes. There are also many garden variety vegetables that could feed a whole village. Holzer’s method of gardening is to throw seeds everywhere and just let them grow. Holzer believes the plants are beneficial to each other as well as the soil. It’s a really interesting concept that still amazes me.