India’s permaculture movement is being taken forward by young people (2022)

India’s permaculture movement is being taken forward by young people (1)
  • There is growing awareness about the benefits of alternative agricultural practices like permaculture, against the backdrop of agrarian crises.
  • After the first National Permaculture Convergence organised by the founder of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, Narsanna Koppula, in 2016, more people from rural, semi-urban and urban backgrounds, started taking an interest in permaculture.
  • From transforming barren lands into forests, to practicing planet-friendly organic farming in the backyards, the permaculture movement is led by youngsters who believe in reconnecting with the ancient roots and re-establishing a connect with nature.

The year 2016 was special in the history of permaculture in India, for it marked the first-ever National Permaculture Convergence. Organised by Narsanna Koppula, a pioneer of the permaculture movement in India and the founder of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, the convergence saw more than 1,100 participants. The year also witnessed a shift in the way the youth of India perceived agriculture and organic lifestyle practices.

Drawing a comparison between the periods before and after the Convergence, Koppula explained, “Before 2016 the participants at the permaculture design course were either retired, agriculturists, or unemployed people. After 2016, we started getting enquiries from youngsters belonging to the 16-35 age group. Word had spread about the alternative farming methods that catered to everyone; without any barrier on age or demographics. Anyone from rural, semi-urban or urban setup could take something from it,” he shared. Today, nearly 60 percent of participants at Aranya’s monthly Permaculture Design Course (PDC) belong to the 16-35 age group, comprising students, graduates and young professionals. The Permaculture India Network is now a very active social media group with 7,100 members.

A wide range of climate-smart farming movements unite under the regenerative agriculture banner, which includes permaculture. Bill Mollison and David Holmgrencoinedthe term ‘permaculture’ in 1978 and the system is particularly influenced by the Japanese natural farmer Masanobu Fukuoka. Permaculture blends traditional and unconventional management methods to enhance ecosystem delivery, using crop diversification.

According to a 2019study,the permaculture movement is viewed a social movement and these characteristics are prevalent in permaculture in India too. With rising awareness about the country’s agrarian crisis, the challenges faced by farmers and projected threats from climate change, the youth are opting for alternative agricultural practices.

The philosophy of permaculture can also be traced back to traditional Indian lifestyle. The principles of permaculture suggest observing and interacting with nature, obtaining yield, capturing and storing energy, drawing from natural patterns, producing zero waste, accepting feedback and regulating self. In simple terms – impersonating nature in all lifestyle practices and working ‘with’ rather than ‘against’ nature.

(Video) THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL PERMACULTURE SPEECH EVER GIVEN

According to a recentstudyby Council on Energy, Environment and Water, reported in Hindustan Times, permaculture is recognised as one of the 30 sustainable agricultural practices and systems prevalent in India. The study also highlights the role of permaculture in improving the biodiversity, by increasing the spatial, vertical, and temporal diversity of species.

Culture and climate

Dharmendradada, in his mid-thirties is a certified teacher. Calleddada(big brother) as a mark of respect for his knowledge of land ecosystems, his work has taken him from one farming community to another across Orissa, Nagaland, Manipur, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh. Five years ago, life was different for Dharmendra as he was caught in corporate cubicles. He explains the reason for the shift in lifestyle, stating, “We have destroyed so much in the last five decades − soil, natural habitats, health, relationships and ecology. Nature knows how to bring back the balance, which is probably why so many people from diverse backgrounds and conditioning are finding their calling in causes supporting sustainability, environment-friendly lifestyles and clean farming practices.”

India’s permaculture movement is being taken forward by young people (2)

Transforming barren lands into forests

Ramesh, 26, a third-generation farmer, worked in the field of wildlife conservation. He lived with the nomadic tribes of Nallamala forest in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, and local farming tribes of Rajasthan before he stumbled upon permaculture. His family however, wanted a less-challenging career for him. But after he found his calling, there was no stopping Ramesh. He likes to be referred to as ‘Ramesh Permaculture’ with ‘Permaculture’ as his last name. “People used to be known for the kind of work they did and that became their last name. I would like the same for me.”

(Video) The Permaculture Way of Life | Manisha Lath Gupta | TEDxShivNadarUniversity

According to Ramesh, the tribal people are the most sustainable, skilled and wise humans. “Tribal people don’t grow their food; they go to the forest and find fruits, tubers to eat, hunt their animals and that’s their food. They don’t cut food-bearing trees to clean up a piece of land that can grow food,” he elaborates.

India’s permaculture movement is being taken forward by young people (3)

Ramesh, who actively designs permaculture farms around Telangana, Karnataka, and Maharashtra wants to work on restoring forests in the long run. One of his feats in the recent past has been the restoration of a 140-acre dry and barren land in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, and converting it into a forest.

A culinary journey

Sana Khumukcham, 33, grew up in the Kakching district of southeast Manipur amidst violence, terror, and armed conflict. She could not appreciate the land she grew up in and the abundance of diversity, owing to the tense political situations around her.

At 15, she started working as a volunteer with NGOs to help rebuild her village and went on to be employed as a social worker for five years in Imphal. One day, she felt a pull, back to her roots.

(Video) Webinar: Peace & Permaculture

She realised that as a kid, she always ate what was grown in her backyard but took that life for granted and seldom appreciated her mother’s efforts into nurturing a garden. While living in the city, she missed locally grown food.

India’s permaculture movement is being taken forward by young people (4)

She then got introduced to permaculture. She states that without the knowledge of the practice, most villagers have been employing permaculture principles but do not want their children to continue the legacy.

“After my PDC, I travelled to a remote village in Orissa to get trained on eco-village design. After the training, I did voluntary work for a month to learn skills that I could bring back with me to help the village economy revive,” shares Khumukcham. She currently owns a three-acre land, manufactures and sells bio-enzymes, natural cleaning products and cow dung pots that can replace the black plastic grow bags in which nurseries sell saplings.

In her village, while most food grown in backyards is organic, farmers growing food on a large scale still depend on intensive farming techniques and chemical fertilisers to obtain a better yield. “Earlier, farming used to be a seasonal activity but now people practice farming all year round to earn better. This has brought an almost drought-like situation in months of February and March before the rains begin,” she adds.

(Video) Ducks in a Permaculture Garden: Why I Love Them, Thoughts on Housing

From farm to fork with experiments

Ashish Godara, in his early thirties now, has moved to the pristine Kumaon hills in Uttarakhand to practice permaculture with his wife and create a food forest. Three years into this new life, he has also inspired his father to start farming on their ancestral land in Rajasthan. The land that was once ripped off its nutrients due to aggressive farming techniques, has now begun to produce reasonable quantities of wheat and rice, organically.

India’s permaculture movement is being taken forward by young people (5)

Godara, however, is sceptical of being called a permaculturist alone; he believes in experimenting. “One needs to follow their basic instinct, learn from those who are already growing food here for generations, explore different ways, evolve and then share the new findings with the existing community,” says Godara. He says he believes that the shift in the mindset for traditional farmers who may have adopted industrialised practices, can come about only through example and not by preaching.

He concludes by saying, “It is important that the youth return to their roots and rediscover connection with nature. That is the lot that still has 20-30 years to make a difference.”

First published by Mongabay India on 12 Aug. 2021

(Video) Ancient Water: Permaculture in Egypt

Related Content

FAQs

Is permaculture possible in India? ›

According to a recent study by Council on Energy, Environment and Water, reported in Hindustan Times, permaculture is recognised as one of the 30 sustainable agricultural practices and systems prevalent in India.

What are some of the problems with the permaculture? ›

The key challenges included high labour input, infestation of pests and diseases, and lack of knowledge on permaculture practices. Although permaculture presents significant challenges, its integration with other forms of sustainable agricultural practices can contribute to improved rural livelihoods.

What is permaculture concept? ›

Permaculture can be understood as the growth of agricultural ecosystems in a self-sufficient and sustainable way. This form of agriculture draws inspiration from nature to develop synergetic farming systems based on crop diversity, resilience, natural productivity, and sustainability.

Is permaculture profitable in India? ›

The profit potential under permaculture can be estimated from the fact that another older technique, which also relies on local inputs, is giving farmers good dividends. Permaculture follows several principles that are a part of India's traditional methods of farming.

How much land is needed for permaculture? ›

Currently, about 1.4 acres of land is required to sustain one person per year using current systems in India (Source: FAO). Using permaculture, this can be vastly reduced, and in many cases, an entire family of four can be sustained on just 1.5 acres (0.607 hectares).

What is permaculture advantages and disadvantages? ›

Top 10 Permaculture Pros & Cons – Summary List
Permaculture ProsPermaculture Cons
Less soil pollutionLack of knowledge regarding permaculture
Less air pollutionConflicts with customs or religious beliefs
Efficient use of our natural resourcesTechnological progress may be slowed down
7 more rows

What is the goal of permaculture? ›

Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that provide for human needs, harmoniously integrating the land with people. The ecological processes of plants, animals, water, weather and nutrient cycles are integrated with human needs and technologies for food, energy, shelter and infrastructure.

Why is permaculture better than agriculture? ›

In permaculture, the people contribute in their daily life toward the production of their food and other needs. Instead of a culture of lawn, we build a culture of food production and outdoor living. Permaculture is more holistic, it looks at the whole culture of food and exercise a healthy livelihood.

What is an example of permaculture? ›

Examples include buildings that support outside plant life, backyard and balcony gardens, and energy-saving green initiatives such as the installation of gray water reclamation systems. The permaculture movement has its critics.

What are the 3 permaculture ethics? ›

Central to permaculture are the three ethics

The ethics earth care, people care and fair share form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies.

How does permaculture help the environment? ›

Regarding soil management, permaculture designs seek to 'slow, spread, and sink' water. This reduces stormwater runoff, recharges the aquifer, and seeks to eliminate soil erosion, thereby reducing the amount of carbon and nitrogen which leave the soil.

What are the 12 principles of permaculture? ›

The 12 design principles of permaculture
  • Observe and Interact with Nature. ...
  • Catch and Store Energy. ...
  • Obtain a Yield. ...
  • Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback. ...
  • Use and Value Renewable Resources. ...
  • Produce No Waste. ...
  • Design From Patterns to Details. ...
  • Integrate Rather Than Segregate.

How do permaculture farms make money? ›

7 Ways to Make an Income From a Permaculture Farm
  1. Permaculture Farmer. ...
  2. Secondary Producer of Value-Added Products. ...
  3. Marketing and Distribution. ...
  4. Nursery: Plant Propagation and Animal Breeding. ...
  5. Services Related to Your Farm or Farming. ...
  6. Teaching and Education on the Site. ...
  7. Consulting – Designing and Implementing Designs.

What is the difference between horticulture and permaculture? ›

Whether it's trees, shrubs, annuals or perennials. These are all sub categories of horticulture. Agriculture pertains specifically to the mass cultivation of food crops. Permaculture is the cultivation of food crops using methods that mimic nature and natural ecology of landscapes.

How do you develop a permaculture? ›

There are eight basic permaculture gardening techniques for getting started with a sustainable garden.
  1. Acquaint yourself with your surroundings. ...
  2. Choose plants based on your environment. ...
  3. Design your garden layout. ...
  4. Build your garden beds. ...
  5. Plant your permaculture garden. ...
  6. Add a layer of organic mulch to the topsoil.
7 Jun 2021

What is a food forest in permaculture? ›

Credit: Permaculture a Beginner's Guide by Graham Burnett. What is a Food Forest… A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature.

How much does it cost to start a permaculture farm? ›

You can spend $100,000 building a house or you can build one for $5,000, or, even better, live in a teepee or camper. There is a 20-fold saving factor right there. You can choose to spend a little or a lot, it's all about your preferred style.

Can you grow all your own food? ›

As any of the millions of subsistence farmers and smallholders around the world will tell you, depending on the quality of your land and the size of your family, you can grow all the food you need in a very small space.

How do you start a permaculture in food forest? ›

STARTING FROM SCRATCH! How To Start A Food Forest Phase One

How much does it cost to start a food forest? ›

If you have 1 acre of land it will cost anywhere between $5000- $10,000 to set up your food forest in five years. This includes the cost of materials, water, and the purchase of plant seedlings.

Can permaculture feed the world? ›

So, short answer, no, permaculture cannot feed 7 billion people or more, because if you are gutting the planet and spewing fossil fuel pollution over everything, you are not using permaculture, by definition.

Is permaculture a science? ›

Permaculture is an applied science, it is concerned with using technologies, explained or unexplained but proven to work by human experience (from different cultures all around the world), to solve specific problems in a sustainable way.

Can permaculture be profitable? ›

Permaculture is not a "turn-key" operation that will provide instant profit. It takes years of labor to develop soils, flora/fauna, and a balanced system. Each year until then will take an investment of seeds, plants, labor and etc. Money out, for a return in the future.

Who is the founder of permaculture? ›

The movement's founders, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, coined the term permaculture in the mid-1970s, as a portmanteau of permanent agriculture and permanent culture. In practice, permaculture is a growing and influential movement that runs deep beneath sustainable farming and urban food gardening.

Where is permaculture used? ›

Existing agricultural systems and land can be transitioned over to the principles of permaculture. Anywhere that you can typically grow food can be used for permaculture on a large or small scale.

What is a permaculture community? ›

A permaculture community is a group of people living in a self-sustaining ecosystem. The goal is to live in harmony with the environment in an eco-friendly way. The community will typically have a shared garden, a renewable energy source such as solar, home-schooling co-operatives, and common exercise or social spaces.

What is the difference between organic farming and permaculture? ›

In permaculture gardening, energy is transferred from one source to another before leaving the system entirely. Whereas, with organic gardening, since fertilizers are used, the waste from one plant becomes food for another organism.

Is permaculture the same as organic farming? ›

What's the difference between Organic Farming and Permaculture? Basically, Permaculture uses organic gardening and farming practices but it goes beyond these practices and integrates the garden and home to create a lifestyle that impacts less on the environment.

What are permaculture practices? ›

As a practice, Permaculture operates by 3 principles, which are 1) Care for the earth, 2) care for its people, and 3) take your fair share and give others a fair share. Permaculture is not an offbeat “hippie” movement–it is simply a common sense approach to agriculture and living.

What are the viewpoints of permaculture? ›

Bill Mollison emphasized the philosophical aspect in his definition: “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any ...

What is fair share in permaculture? ›

The third and final permaculture principle is Fair Share. This involves setting limits and redistributing surplus. To embody this ethic, one should take only what is needed. Excess should not be harvested, to ensure that there is enough supply for everybody.

What is permaculture landscape design? ›

What is a permaculture garden design? According to Bill Mollison, cofounder and father of the movement, “Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.”

What are the advantages of permaculture? ›

It promotes biodiversity and helps to preserve wildlife

Permaculture offers solutions for soil fertility, water conservation, climate change mitigation, and animal habitat. Its design principles help to maximize biodiversity and preserve wildlife by creating more habitat for animal species.

Does permaculture help climate change? ›

The project estimates that the increase in regenerative agriculture from the current 108 million acres to 1 billion acres by 2050 could result in a total reduction of 23.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide, from both sequestration and reduced emissions. This is equivalent to 65 per cent of the world's carbon emission in 2015.

What is natural permaculture? ›

Permaculture is a branch of design science and ecological engineering that focuses on land cultivation, sustainable architecture and designing human systems based on natural ecosystems.

What are the characteristics of permaculture? ›

To sum it up in a few words:
  • Diverse.
  • Interwoven.
  • Multi layered.
  • Conservative (of resources!)
  • Self-regulating.
  • Self-repairing.
  • Low inputs.
  • High yields.

What is permaculture farming? ›

Permaculture is an innovative ethics and design based process used to make agriculture more sustainable, restore soil, conserve water, and redirect waste streams. The process is inspired by the everyday relationships found in nature.

What are the elements of permaculture? ›

The way I like to distinguish permaculture is by dividing it into five major categories. These are: ethics, abstract principles, science & design principles, strategies, and techniques.

How much does permaculture cost? ›

The price range for implementation of a design is $3,000 (simple residence) to $30,000 (homestead/farm). Annual oversite and maintenance can run about the same.

How do I start a permaculture business? ›

Your six-step process for starting a permaculture farm business
  1. Know yourself and identify your strengths, passions and interests.
  2. Select your “industry” based on these strengths and passions.
  3. Research your local market and identify what people want.
  4. Produce a minimum viable product and learn about the business.

How much do permaculture designers make? ›

Permaculture Designers in America make an average salary of $65,572 per year or $32 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $111,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $38,000 per year.

What's the difference between permaculture and agriculture? ›

Agriculture is the practice of cultivating food for human consumption. Permaculture is “permanent agriculture” and integrates ecosystem patterns to improve the ethics and sustainability of farming practices.

What are the 5 types of farming? ›

Types of Farming
  • Arable Farming. Arable farming is a method that involves growing crops primarily in regions that have a warm climate across the year. ...
  • Pastoral Farming. ...
  • Mixed Farming. ...
  • Commercial Farming. ...
  • Subsistence Farming. ...
  • Extensive and Intensive Farming. ...
  • Nomadic Farming. ...
  • Sedentary Farming.
25 Jan 2022

What is the approach of permaculture to nutrient management? ›

The Permaculture approach to nutrient management is thoughtful of its approach to energy management. Just as permaculture design strategies endeavor to achieve the maximum cycling of energy within the system, nutrients too are a resource that should not be “lost” from the system.

What is permaculture farming Upsc? ›

Permaculture is a term used to describe an intentional system of agriculture and settlement that aims to reflect the interrelationships and sustainability of natural ecosystems.

How big is Ananda farm? ›

Located at the foothills of Morni Hills near Chandigarh, Aanandaa Permaculture Farm is an outcome of our passion and hardwork. In 2010, we bought 6 acres of land. The depth of the underground water was quite low almost 350 feet or so – quite different from land on Punjab side where water was barely 50 feet away.

What is mulching in agriculture Upsc? ›

Mulching basically involves application of a protective layer of material to the field soil surface just after sowing any crop.

What is the purpose of permaculture? ›

Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that provide for human needs, harmoniously integrating the land with people. The ecological processes of plants, animals, water, weather and nutrient cycles are integrated with human needs and technologies for food, energy, shelter and infrastructure.

How is permaculture done? ›

Preparation of a Permaculture Garden

Slash the weeds and drop them to the ground. Then sheet mulch it to prevent them re-growing. No cultivation is necessary. Feed from the top; straw, manure, minerals, let it feed itself.

How is permaculture different from? ›

1. Permaculture farming discourages monocultural practices but in conventional chemical farming, monoculture practices are predominant. 2. Conventional chemical farming can cause an increase in soil salinity but the occurrence of such phenomenon is not observed in permaculture farming.

What is the difference between zero budget natural farming and organic farming? ›

What is the difference between zero budget farming and organic farming? In organic farming, organic fertilizers and manures like compost, vermicompost, cow dung manure, etc. are used and added to farmlands from external sources. In natural farming, neither chemical nor organic fertilizers are added to the soil.

What are 5 advantages of mulching? ›

Benefits of Mulching
  • Controlling weeds. Weeds are not just unsightly in the garden, they can also damage your plants and parasitic weeds can certainly kill them. ...
  • Retaining moisture. ...
  • Preventing soil erosion. ...
  • Maintaining soil nutrients. ...
  • Controlling pests.
15 Nov 2016

How does rock dam terrace farming and intercropping help conserve soil? ›

Rock Dam: Rocks are being stacked up to slow down the water flow and also help to stop gullies and further erosion of soil. Terrace Farming: On the steep slopes wide, flat steps are designed so that flat surfaces can be used for cultivation, therefore minimising surface, runoff, and soil erosion.

Videos

1. Agroecology and the Custodial Ethic
(Oxford Real Farming)
2. World Localization Day 2020 - Webinar 1
(Local Futures)
3. Why Bill Gates Is Buying Up U.S. Farmland
(CNBC)
4. TerraTalk: Narsanna Koppula talks permaculture in India
(Terrado Climate School)
5. Permaculture - Grow Your Own Paradise!
(The Weedy Garden)
6. Got Some Land, Now What? 5 First Steps When Starting a Permaculture Garden or Farm
(Parkrose Permaculture)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Manual Maggio

Last Updated: 11/15/2022

Views: 6534

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Manual Maggio

Birthday: 1998-01-20

Address: 359 Kelvin Stream, Lake Eldonview, MT 33517-1242

Phone: +577037762465

Job: Product Hospitality Supervisor

Hobby: Gardening, Web surfing, Video gaming, Amateur radio, Flag Football, Reading, Table tennis

Introduction: My name is Manual Maggio, I am a thankful, tender, adventurous, delightful, fantastic, proud, graceful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.