Hello Sarah Gowland!

Permaculture Extension Services permaext at magna.com.au
Mon Aug 26 07:02:18 EDT 1996

S.J.Gowland wrote:
> Hi Russ,
>         At the moment I'm doing an MSc. in Environmental Forestry at
> Bangor University, North Wales (UK).  I'm doing my dissertation on
> homegardens of tropical areas and forest gardens of temperate regions.

...Wow! What a resource this will be! How can we obtain a copy?

> explain briefly:  Tropical homegardens are an agroforestry practice
> whereby an area (of around 0.5 ha) around the house is planted up with
> useful (usually multi-purpose) trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers and are
> arranged in 3-5 vertical strata in a way that makes optimal use of light
> and space.  It's a sustainable, ecologically sound system that provides
> fruit, vegetables, medicines, spices, fuel wood, timber and virtually every
> thing that subsistence requires.  Staple foods are grown in fields around
> the homestead.  Animals are usually part of the system, there are nearly
> always poultry of some sort and often goats/cattle etc penned near the
> house. 

...This is an image of traditional Javanese home gardens (Indonesia). 
As well as the above, they incorporate fish culture fed on waste and 
yielding food.

Somewhere, I have an article or two on these gardens which, if you 
need them, I can attempt to locate and post to you. I imagine you 
already have plenty of information on them.

 Sounds like permaculture doesn't it? although these have been used
> for hundreds if not thousands of years - long before the word permaculture
> was created by Bill Mollison! 

...Sure have! Permaculture acknowledges a great debt to traditional 
agriculture. It has drawn heavily on traditional systems and I believe 
that we have only scratched the surface in what we can learn from 
traditional systems. This is where your research becomes so valuable. 
Do you plan to make it available as an information resource?

 It's thought that it evolved as a practice
> when population pressure got too high to allow a sufficiently long fallow
> period in shifting agriculture/bush fallow systems to maintain soil
> fertility. 

...This process continues today. The organisation I work for - APACE 
(Appropriate Technology for Community and Environment) as a project 
manager is presently involved in implementing a development assistance 
project in the Solomon Islands (off NE coast of Papua New Guinea). 

There, our field officer, Tony Jansen, is assisting islanders to learn 
settled agriculture using permaculture as a planning framework and 

With a growing population, fallow periods in the traditional slash and 
burn swidden agriculture have become too short to allow fertility 
recovery. Just as you say.

 As far as temperate forest gardening goes it's a relatively
> new concept, pioneered in Britain by Robert Hart.  Interest is mainly from
> the permaculture movement

...Agroforestry is  of great interest to Australian permaculturists as 
well. The Australian federal and state governments are also 
encouraging it as a form of ecologically sustainable farming which is 
profitable to farmers.

As well, they encourage, through the Farm Forestry scheme via which 
they offer financial assistance, the growing of timber as a crop on 
degraded farm land.

Further to this has been the formation last year of the Subtropical 
Farm Forestry Association which promotes farm forestry and, this year, 
the Australian Rainforest Bushfood Association came into being to 
further the interest of growers, processors and others involved in the 
emerging indigenous bushfoods industry. These are commercial 
applications of tree cropping and agroforestry.

> a design for a new forest garden which will be made at our University

...What an opportunity! I've read a couple of Robert Hart's books (not 
his new book which is not yet available in Australia) and have seen 
his cool temperate forest garden in the UK on Global Gardener. Be 
interested in seeing your design!

In Sydney, we can grow both temperate and subtropical species which 
creates opportunities for interesting tree cropping polycultures.

My interest in permaculture is as a permaculture teacher - I co-teach 
Permaculture Design Courses and introductory courses and teach 
permaculture as a subject in the horticulture course at TAFE 
(technical tertiary education).

My other interests are as a writer/ publisher on permaculture, as 
state co-ordinator of the Australian City Farms, Community Gardens and 
Enterprise Centres Network and for permaculture in schools projects.

Write back if there's anything I can help with and stay in touch about 
your studies.

...keep on greening...

...Russ Grayson

Russ Grayson and Fiona Campbell
PO Box 446, Kogarah NSW 2217 AUSTRALIA

Phone	02-9588 6931	(IDD-61+2+9588 6931)
Fax 	02 330 2611 (Mark fax: ATTN: RUSS GRAYSON - APACE) 
	(IDD-61+2+330 2611)
Email: permaext at magna.com.au

Permaculture education, publishing, design. 
NSW co-ordinator, Australian City Farms and Gardens Network.

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