In the video below Rick responds to Curtis Stone’s myths about permaculture.
While watching Rick talk, I had a few thoughts:
The *first* principle of permaculture is observe and interact in any given context, *second* to obtain resources relevant to that context, *third* obtain a yield with those resources. Curtis’ beef is with the yield because he believes a permaculture zone 3-4 food forest should compete with zone 0 because “experts” somewhere said so.
Maybe Curtis is right or maybe he doesn’t really comprehend zones, and the frequency and duration of work in those zones for the output. All his cropping is high intensity and long duration that I’ll call zone 0 (greenhouse) because it’s basically his home, & zone one-quarter because most of what he grows is young milti-annual crops that he harvests and transplants multiple times per season in his and the neighbours backyards. These are high turnover nitrate driven crops that he culls often in the middle of the vegetative growth stage of the sigmoid curve, only letting the most valuable annuals flower and fruit over the season like tomatoes.
The high nitrate crops then require external inputs (high nitrate turkey compost) for new seedling transplants to keep them in that vegetative growth stage. In doing so anytime he harvests or tilthers (shallow till) he disturbs the soil-plant ecosystem, even in no dig systems this happens between crops. It’s how most people garden and farm, so much so it can be considered the norm. So in Curtis and most of the world’s commercial minds eye they see it as the done thing because it yields results and order and is easier to harvest.
The one thing these commercial systems all do well is harvesting and removing life. Harvesting the pests, plants, nutrients, the ecosystems. On the other hand rarely do they perform well when it comes to sequestering and adding life or regenerating ecosystems to support diversity.
On the other hand Rick’s example of a guild above where he’s stacking the harvest time of two perennial crops in the same place does a similar thing to Curtis’ multi-annual cropping but uses nitrifying soil microbes to produce ammonium for the perennials, including soil carbon sequestering mycorrhizae that need plant hosts. All while keeping the soil shaded, and fed and getting two crop harvests a season. Permaculture needs more people like Rick performing these guild experiments, recording and sharing yield results.
A recent favourite of mine that combines a bit of both is alley cropping in syntropic agriculture.
However permaculture really could better be showing producers and consumers actual yields and practices that produce them. With real metrics, examples.
I also think that Regenerative cropping really needs a movement behind it like vegetables have with vegans, but one for plant and animals foods that are soil and planet positive. There’s probably already a name for that?
For me, regenerative farming came to mind, so I came up with the name Regenivore, but when I googled I was greeted with no results.
Are there any consumer supported agriculture (CSA) initiatives that are regenerative focused? Standards bodies for Certified Regenerative produce?