The design of farming

I got the time yesterday to sit down and watch two documentaries about Permaculture (yesterday’s topic). I learned much about farming and plants etc. Things like: direct exposure to sunlight damages soil. And: it’s not the soil which feeds the plants but the life in the soil (worm ‘culture’ and funghi for example). But what struck me most was the word design which kept coming back in these documentaries.

Apparently you can design agriculture in such a way that maximizes bio diversity which in turn lowers the cost of maintenance and if you use the right crops you can produce higher yields than the ‘usual’ cereals do, which is what we are growing most. The problem is we like our cereals and it’s hard to tell everyone to stop eating their ham sandwiches. I know this is over simplifying the matter and there is a lot more to industrial farming and I’m leaving stuff out and I am not an expert. I wish I was.

What I also thought was an interesting point was that hedges and trees grow vertically and therefore use the space on the ground that they grow on far more effectively than regular farm fields which are just flat. It’s this kind of design-y thinking that I enjoy.


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