B.Sc Agriculture, Third Semester
Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Rampur, Chitwan
In the name of feeding the hungry planet, the conventional agricultural practices has now set the world on the verge of its carrying capacity. Modernization in agriculture for bumping the productivity of crops by the use of excessive fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, excessive mechanical tillage and mono cropping all of these “agricultural interventions” are making us humans a voracious consuming species of resources gifted by nature, secretly degrading the “natural” world we live in. Permaculture is an emerging concept which believes in natural way of farming, that not only mitigates the harm of such threats but also fulfills the need of food and other natural products transforming us into producers from being constant consumers of the nature.
Permaculture, or Permanent Agriculture, in a layman’s word is mimicking the nature. It is a holistic approach to life where agricultural and social design principles are centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. The three primary ethics of permaculture: earth care, people care and fair share suggest that it is thus a sustainable way of running the world.
You might have heard the term organic farming these days quite often and even more frequently when it comes to the agenda of sustainable agricultural development. While permaculture offers more than just organic farming, this is the base of doing farming in the nature’s way. The extravagant use of chemicals is avoided. Cultivation is done in a naturalistic way. We use the recycling of existing sources like Farm Yard Manure and organic manures for nutrition supply. Tillage is done conversationally, ploughing is reduced. It’s about capturing all the available energy provided by the nature and making the best use of it reducing the waste and hazards. For instance, the waste/dirty water from the basin in washroom can be utilized for flushing toilet. The biodegradable waste can be utilized to produce methane for cooking and compost for crops. The rainfall can be captured on your roof and can be channeled for irrigation the home/kitchen garden. These are indeed few examples of the eco-friendly methods of farming and daily living which is the focal theme of the ethic “Earth care“. With this thought into practice, the world would become a natural place to live in again.
In permaculture, you work with the elements of nature for gaining the product you want up to your level of need and not more than that. You would rather take a fair share of your own and all others would take their piece. This is the theme of the “fair share” ethic. Sharing has to be a must in today’s world traumatized with the fear of food security. This ethic basically suggests that the food you are storing for luxury recipes might work out ten plates of supper for the needy otherwise, and so you had better grow a fruiting tree that supplies fruits for years to come and hence, everyone can take their fair share.
The other ethic is the “people care” ethic which suggests the need for collaboration and cooperation among people if reasonable change and improvement is to be brought to the present environment. One should take initiative and responsibilities of himself, his kin and the community. A community with every individual of this attitude shall prosper its environment very fast.
This description of permaculture is merely a cup of water taken from the ocean of vast principles and methods that are designed for transcending the present age of food insecurity, pollution, global warming, deforestation, soil erosion etc. to a world resembling paradise, the paradise that mimics nature, that too: sustainably. Well, if these ethics and examples didn’t get you motivated for a “natural” change, it might be a symptom of this version of yourself not fitting into the nature-loving category but why would you bother against it? You are the sons of nature aren’t you? However, if you are a permaculture-resistant breed (literally) take your time to criticize this system and of course why wouldn’t you. You might be thinking that this thing is lagging behind in production and all… but again think for a moment, fruiting trees grow excessively in forests, more than that grown in your orchard. Now does the soil of the forest get fertilizers?