Permanent agriculture

How does one design a farm so that it is environmentally-friendly and economically viable as well?

To many Filipino farmers, this question has not even occurred. Most tenants and farm workers have little say in running the farms they work in, much less in redesigning them. Even farmer-owners often simply take the existing farm set-up as given, preoccupied as they are in the day-to-day problems of keeping their farms afloat.

Yet, a farm’s design is a key factor in its survival and sustainability. In poorly-designed farms, farmers will always feel as if every day were an uphill climb, because the poor design makes the farmer work against the natural flow of matter and energy in the farm. In well-designed farms, farming will feel like a downhill joyride, as the natural forces and components in the farm themselves do most of the work that the farmer normally shoulders.

A sustainable approach to farm design called permaculture, first developed in Australia, is now proving its worth under Philippine conditions. In permaculture (from permanent agriculture), the farmer carefully lays out a system of water containment and channels within the farm, so that water naturally flows slowly, by gravity, from one containment to the next. Then, the farmer gradually “assembles”, following certain principles and guidelines, an increasing variety of plants and animals. These are laid out in a way that each additional farm component performs one or more functions or provides matter or energy which, in a conventional farm, have to be provided by the farmers themselves. After many years, a well-designed permaculture farm will look like a lush forest of food and cash crops. And this forest will essentially maintain itself. Then, the farmers’ job will consist mainly of tending the “forest” and regularly harvesting its products.

Successful permaculture farms in the Philippines include the Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning (CELL) in Silang, Cavite and Cabiokid in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. Permaculture practitioners and advocates have set up the Philippine Permaculture Association (PPA), which conducts regular trainings and supports those who want to try permaculture in their own farms.

6 Comments

  1. Ren
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Bob, papaano ako makarating sa Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning (CELL) galing Batangas?

    Me 7ha kami na balak ko ring i-develop.

    Thanks

  2. Roberto Verzola
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Go into Silang town, look for the Cavite Rural Bank branch. Near the bank are tricycles going to Bgy. Malaking Tatyaw. Ask them to bring you to CELL which is in that barangay. (Or get detailed directions, if you have a car.) The landmark is the Cavite Institute, which you will pass. After CI, you will pass one or two bridges. Watch out on the left side for the big sign of CELL (Center for Ecozoic Living/Learning). Enter the gate, and the long driveway.

    Obet

  3. Rosa Mercado
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    HI OBET,

    KUMUSTA ULI. CANDY AND I PLAN TO GO TO SILANG CAVITE THIS SUNDAY OR MONDAY TO CHECK OUT THE PERMACULTURE FARM. WHAT DO YOU THINK? IT IS STILL EXSITING I GUESS.

    ANYWAY, I ALSO PLAN TO ATTEND THE PRRM SPONSORED LECTURE TOMORROW ON PERMACULTURE IN THE AFTERNOON, WHICH IS PART OF THEIR 57TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION.

    DO YOU KNOW ANYBODY AT THE SILANG FARM WHOM I CAN EMAIL OR CALL TO BE SURE THAT SOMEONE WILL BE THERE TO MEET US WHEN WE GO THERE?

    THANKS HOPE TO HEAR FROM U SOON.

    ROSA

  4. Posted March 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    WE ARE NOW DO FOR ORGANIC AGRICULTURE AND PALM OIL PLANTATION, WE NEED REFERENCES TO MAKE THE PARMACULTURE(PERMANENT AGRICULTURE KONSEP) IN iNDONESIA .

  5. Amorn Pattarathara
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to do the organic agriculture in Laos( tapioca, sugarcane,rice etc).I’m very interesting in permaculture farm. If having any advice,please don’t hesitate to mail to me.Thanks.
    am_motherland@yahoo.com
    Amorn

  6. Posted November 28, 2012 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention
    that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing for your rss feed and I hope you write once more soon!

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