Using permaculture in market farming and homestead gardening.

georg parlow georg at
Mon Feb 7 17:52:56 EST 2000

At 06:05 PM 02/02/2000 -0500, Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:
>I need to write a mini-FAQ on the topic dealing with the many uses of
>permaculture principles, concepts and methods in market farming and
>urban and rural homestead gardening (for self sufficiency). Can anyone
>offer any information or resources on this topic.
>Discussion, in depth, welcomed!

hi lawrence

permaculture and market farming are a difficult match in my opinion. pc and
subsistence are closely connected - a highly specialized, extremely market
dependent society is no good base for a permanent culture, too instable. so
growing food for some folks in the neighbourhood and perhaps the odd
overworked specialist with a skill needed but underrepresented (the
dentist?) will not pose problems - but even the dentist better lives in a
houselhold with other members, who have time, skill and humbleness to grow
the majority of the households food.

but alas, we are still far from a permanent culture, so we gotta work from
here, don't we. still, from my opinion scale is the most important aspect
in designing market farm systems. if we let mother nature be our ultimate
teacher, we can see that the very same thing might perform very differently
in different scales (a small watercourse erodes while a big one deposits).
but patterns are my pet, and i am still chewing on a bigger article here.

i feel that  it is no problem to design a farm with one or a few perennial
cashcrops and still have a very diverse, and resilient subsistence system
with a managable workload for a family/samll community. but this usually
will only cover the relatively low cash needs of a basically subsitence
orientated group/family of huble lifestyle.

if we want to design a system for 'a farmer', someone who wants to earn the
equivalent of any other job by selling primary products, we have a quite
different task at hand. it either has to be workable with big machinery or
we need lots of cheap labour - or quite a few permaculturally skilled
'monitors' plus some cheap labor - but then we wouldn't have 'a' farmer but
several, thus we need more income and so we increase our problem spiral.
however, if we go for usual farm machinery - even if we are able to avoid
the monoculture trap i feel it isn't really proper to call something 'a
permaculture system' if we run heavy machinery over the land frequently.
soil structure as well as the whole steel, rubber and oil deal are an issue

so i guess, even if i let go of my ideologic standpoint i seem to end up at
the same result. maybe it isn't ideolgic after all, or maybe i didn't let go.


follow your heart
it is the only way to heaven on earth...
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