Permaculture: sustainable, efficient and effective agriculture

17 August 2021

The main objective of sustainable agriculture is to work the land while respecting the natural ecosystem and its own subsistence. Within this broad field of study, which emerged as a response to intensive farming and its environmental impact, there are several models that are used to produce in an alternative and sustainable way: organic farming, biodynamic farming, integrated farming and permaculture.

In this post we will talk about permaculture, a model that allows for more efficient, effective and sustainable systems of land use.

What is permaculture and why is it sustainable, efficient and effective?

Permaculture is a system based on a well founded principle: that of designing production systems in a way that respects the natural ecosystem.

The term permaculture includes the English terms permanent and culture, which define very well this philosophy and its implication in different social aspects beyond the farm itself, such as design, engineering, resource management, etc. It is an evolution of the primary and original term: permanent agriculture.

Permaculture is sustainable, efficient and effective because it requires an almost symbiotic relationship between the farmer and the land. It therefore requires compliance with a number of principles in order to execute the model properly, and some of these are:

– Observing nature and learning from its behaviour.

– Obtaining renewable energy and storing it.

– Producing only fruit in a sustainable way.

– Producing less waste.

Benefits of permaculture

Permaculture thus has significant advantages over other models of land use and is characterised by being sustainable, effective and provides an:

– Alternative to industrial agriculture.

– It provides permanent arable land.

– It recovers degraded soils.

– It reduces pollution.

– It produces healthy organic food.

– Contributes to reforestation, cooperation, self-sufficiency and solidarity among farmers.

– It presents an efficient use of energy and sustainable use of air, water, soil…

History of permaculture

It was in the late 1920s when Joseph Russell Smith coined the term ‘permanent agriculture’ in a book on tree planting, in which he proposed experimenting by combining it with other crops underneath. This first step inspired many farmers, who began to practise it even in Japan, as was the case of Toyohijo Kagawa, a pioneer in his country in the following decade. This publication also generated new research into its benefits for water supply and distribution management.

But it was not until the 1970s that permaculture really flourished. It did so in Australia, where Dr Bill Mollison and David Holmgren developed their ideas for farming systems to counteract the aggressive methods put in place after World War II. Their views, which have since been published in numerous manuals, have spread and generated a much needed bate in the agricultural sector.

Permaculture is an example of how humans can live in perfect harmony with their natural environment, respecting it and working together with it to produce food. This ethical principle of natural efficiency and effectiveness is very important to us, which is why at Agromediterránea we are continually working to establish sustainable production processes that have a positive impact on our plants.