Society has forgotten its connection to the land.
Modern industrial agriculture is damaging our health, local economies, nature and global climate systems…
We can live more harmoniously on this earth by transitioning to a more plant and tree based, regenerative agriculture.
A movement towards a more sustainable and ethical agricultural system could empower local communities through self-provision, independence from the corporate food system and rural revitalisation.
The global community can mitigate extreme climate change through carbon sequestration, soil carbon conservation and reduced emissions associated with industrial agriculture.
Agroecology is the ultimate goal of a sustainable agricultural system
Agroforestry will become a major part of the necessary agroecological movement;
it is simply the integration of trees on farms and agricultural land.
Trees can produce a desirable yield of food, timber and fuel, alongside more conventional annual crops, more commercially novel perennial crops, or livestock.
Trees provide many ecological services that can lead to a more consistently productive farm:
-Soil stabilisation and conservation
-Water regulation including flood control and moisture retention
-Crop disease prevention
Aside from these advantages that are directly economically and ecologically beneficial, trees provide habitat for wildlife in a fragmented landscape and beauty for all of us.
Agroforestry is old…
It’s been practiced in the Tropics and the Mediterranean for over 4000 years.
Despite this, agroforestry in the ‘West’ only caught on in the 1970s, when the public began to realise the frightening scale of our environmental impact on the land.
Now there are global organisations dedicated to promoting agroforestry related policies in government.
Presently, around 2,700 farmers are practising agroforestry in the USA, their motives being to reduce erosion, fix nitrogen, build biomass, improve soil fertility and spread economic risk.
Food Forests= Ultimate agroforestry system
Multi-strata ‘Food Forests’ or ‘Woodland Gardens’ have been described as one of the most diverse and agroecologically sound forms of agroforestry.
With the correct choice of species, and the use of weather-protective structures like geodesic domes or biospheres, we can be harvesting from every layer all year round even in temperate climates like the UK and Europe.
Introduction to Permaculture
Permaculture is an ethics based practice of systematic design that can be applied to land management at every scale.
“Permaculture offers ways we can design human habitat, places for people to be, that work with nature.”Permaculture Association
– It promotes diversity and closed loop systems (valuing ‘waste’ products)
– It integrates efficient use of resources: water, soil, time, organic inputs, energy and space
– It considers all beings: human, animal, plant and fungi as valuable entities.
Permaculture aims to increase both yield and labour productivity through planning and diversity.
It is sustainable in its very nature, minimising external inputs and maximising internal resource capture, storage and even multiplication.
Integration of permaculture into farming
- Reduced whole farm carbon footprint and increased carbon sequestration
- Improved soil fertility and health
- Increased on-farm biodiversity
- Increased water holding capacity and reduced contribution to local flooding
- Reduced requirement for external inputs
- Increased yields of food and other farm products per unit area
- UK with a strong and diverse food economy, a net exporter of food
- Strengthened local resilience and enhanced regional food economies
- Greater awareness and involvement of the public in farming
- Improved farmer incomes and increased employment opportunities
- Improved farmer quality of life,
- Greater opportunities for new entrants and the involvement of more young people
We can create win-win-win agricultural systems by switching to more agroecological practices:
better food, more wildlife, more adaptable landscapes to extreme weather, climate change mitigation, even reduced unemployment as more people are employed on the land.
Please join me in striving to live more harmoniously with our land and reconnecting with our roots