Dan Olner d.olner07 at leeds.ac.uk
Wed Nov 17 10:42:25 GMT 2010

Hey up,

Two separate questions there, I think. Do permaculturists want to ban digging and tilling? And "Is there any evidence that permaculture is more than a middle class cult for amateur  gardeners?"

Permaculture emphasises what works, so I doubt there's any dogmatic opposition to digging in all circumstances. Though it'd be good to hear other views on that, since I know there are some circumstances that no-tilling approaches are thought best.

On the 'middle class cult' question, just one example might help answer that:


... and you can find plenty more on the interwebnets -


(That's missing some: I know of at least one more in Africa than is on that list.)

There's also a great deal of overlap between permaculture and (the more academically acceptable!) agro-ecology. See 2008's massive IAASTD report (4 years, 400 scientists):


Nice summary here:


And more recently:


The counter-argument put well by Paul Collier:


My own view is that food systems should serve the needs of the people using them, and Collier's view leads more often to the requirements of big business being served. Cliched, but true. A counter-example from a talk I went to last year - this chap:


-          works on participatory plant-breeding - and yield is only one of a great many factors that growers actually look for. (Others being, for example, consistency, taste, ease of cooking or milling etc) and can vary.

So: for a Venn diagram of agro-ecology and permaculture - no, it's not just a middle class cult for amateur gardeners. I don't think enough work is done trying to objectively measure the successes of agro-eco work - and it's difficult to do so because it's so much more multi-dimensional - but you'll see from the IAASTD report, there's plenty of evidence to support it.



From: Diggers350 at yahoogroups.com [mailto:Diggers350 at yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of james armstrong
Sent: 16 November 2010 18:28
To: diggers
Subject: [Diggers350] SHIFT PERMACULTURE

I understand that  permaculture advocates a non digging method of agriculture.
For the last 5,000 years farmers have been ploughing the land, sowing seed , so successfully, that
the human population has  multiplied  to dominate the planet and successfully compete with all other living organisms.
Is there any evidence that permaculture is more than a middle class cult for amateur  gardeners?
Maybe I'm wrong.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20101117/f9b1c67e/attachment.html>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list