We are loosing soil. We loose 6lbs farmable soil for each pound of food we consume 24 california, 18 in China, topsoil is relentlessly being eroded and destroyed destroyed. In 49 years whole world may be desertified if we continue with modern farming/agricultural practices. As the soil depletes, it depletes faster – acceleration leads to exponential degradation.
By 2025, 3/4 world’s population will be at risk not having enough water to grow enough food to survive (UN report). At this point, what Big-Brother will step in to cope with the situation?
We need to grow soil to feed people
Permaculture is a systems and network design science. It looks for patterns in Nature and mimics her, delivering meaningful work and life-sustaining products that are good for people, while also giving back to the land and recycling abundance.
It is a sustainable closed-loop farming system in which we grow living soil and recycle nutrients. Give everything back to the soil that we took out – and a little bit more. Then Nature will provide for us and provide abundantly. Traditional organic gardening may import 50-80% off site resources. When we consider the “embedded energy” involved in making the products we consume and the transportation to get it to us (and then to the dump when we are done), sourcing locally and repurposing on-site resources is the best way to “go Green.”
What kind of future do we want to create? How do you design a sustainable, equitable and profitable food production system? How can you create a system in which you work a minimum amount of time for a great return? This has been done in past civilizations and we can learn how to do it today. We have become technologically sophisticated but you can’t eat computer chips!
Sink Water and Improve Soil, or Recirculate through Fish and Vegetables?
One of the main paramount goals in Permaculture is how to be smart with water and increase fertility and quantity of soil. Swales interconnected with small detaining or retaining ponds help slow rainwater runoff, spread it across a wide landscape, then sink into the soil, rehydrating aquifers.
Aquaponics and Aquaculture
Aquaculture and Aquaponics integrate well into Permaculture design philosophy as food security and diversity systems and as essential reservoirs of water that can enhance and be used on the landscape. Aquaculture can be thought of as ponds interacting within landscapes.
“Closed-loop Aquaponics” is the term my friend and mentor Max Meyer in Wilits, California coined and means capturing and recycling/repurposing “wastes” along the way and re-introducing a input and food back into another part of the system. Be it floating rack systems or media beds or wall gardens or whicking beds, Aquatics systems designs can be amazing and creative.
Permaculture makes good soil and plays well with water. For those and many other reasons, we need and can greatly benefit from Permaculture systems thinking in our draming and design projects and decisions.