Permaculture and design thinking

In this blogpost, I talk about a solution based approach to agriculture that is steadily finding its way to  a form a new wave in agriculture.

In late 1970s, Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist and professor at University of Tasmania was trying to understand how environment, nature, agriculture and urbanization can coexist. One of the main principles of his observation was that even though each element of the ecosystem is different, it ultimately works together. For example: bees pollinate  without which life will not sustain; birds provide pest control and pollination; certain plants intake the nitrogen fixation present in the air and convert it into a form that other plants can use etc.

The theory of permaculture was hence born, with focus on individual roles of each element in forming an ecosystem which is scientific and effective. This innovative technique to agriculture soon formed a field of study –  ‘permaculture design courses’ that brought this new and novel technique to farmers across the country .

Permaculture aims to create systems that are ecologically viable, economically sound and self-sustaining which is applicable in both rural and urban communities (Source). Based on an observation of nature, permaculture is the application of authenticity found in traditional farming, merging it with modern farming practices by creating a ‘conscious design and a cultivated ecology’. (Source)

Over the years, permaculture has proven to be beneficial for smallholder farmers. It enables a farmer to sustainably, effectively and efficiently utilize resources especially their land. Permaculture is entirely based on three ethics: Earth care- ensuring a healthy balance for all prevailing life systems to sustain and multiply; People care- provision to access all necessary resources; Fair share- a means to provide for the first two principles.

Alternate agrarian practices like permaculture, bring innovation and enthusiasm in agriculture. What are your thoughts on this? You can write to me on mahyco.social@gmail.com

– Dr Smitha Kurup, Scientist, Mahyco