[permaculture] RE:open letter to the Australian permaculture movement

Pacific Edge Permaculture + Media pacedge at magna.com.au
Sun Jul 7 20:11:20 EDT 2002

Very interesting letter Charles... thanks for taking the time for

I have added comments below...

> From: "charles knoles" <charles at growfood.org> Reply-To:
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org Date: Sat,  6 Jul 2002 18:36:02 -0400 To:
> <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org> Subject: [permaculture] RE:open letter to the
> Australian permaculture movement
> While I have enormous respect for people who do the "trees around the house"
> style of permaculture, it should be obvious even without reading Bernard
> Salt's research, that this will not supply all of society's food and that if
> we are teaching permaculture with the expectation that one day every single
> person in both urban and rural communities will take up permaculture gardening
> to supply some of their food needs then we are dreaming.  There will always be
> a need for full-time farmers to grow food for people who are not in a food
> producing profession.
Too true! Despite what Bill used to say about there being so much vacant
land in the cities that they could fed themselves were it converted to food
producing gardens, the reality is somewhat different. Bill appears not to
have  taken into account the reasons that land is 'vacant', such as awaiting
development, urban bushland, contamination and so on. Then there's the
effect of very high land prices pricing land use for commercial agriculture
in the city beyond the realms of possibility.

There's also the fact that probably most people are not interested in
growing food or in gardening in general, despite the fact that gardening is
one of Australia's most popular hobbies (they grow mainly ornamentals). This
includes consumers of organic food.

Yet sometimes I am pleasantly amazed, such as by the phone call I received
the other day from a man in Western Sydney who has a one hectare (about 2.5
of your acres) subtropical fruit orchard ion his land simply because he has
an interest in tropical fruit. He was after sugar cane, and I hope the
advice I gave  him will  lead him to a supply.

> There are three things we need to do if we want the farmers to listen to us:
> 1)Assemble solid scientific research on permaculture.
We need some of this.

> 2) Prove that the market exists for an organic permaculture grown product.
This is demonstrable in Australia through the Organic Farming Association,
National Association for Susatinable Agriculture Australia, Biofarms  etc -
the industry certification bodies.

> 3) Create a support institute that can give farmers the practical advice they
> need to take up permaculture. Perhaps Permaculture International Limited
> http://www.nor.com.au/environment/perma/ could expand into a farm support role

Permaculture International does not at present have the capacity to do this.
The organisation is reorienting after the ending of the Permaculture
International Journal and at present is focusing efforts on setting up a
nationally accredited permaculture course that will qualify as workplace
training and make permaculture education more widely available than at

Thanks for writing.

...Russ Grayson; Sydney, Australia

More information about the permaculture mailing list