Re: Hello Sarah Gowland!
> Hi Russ,
> At the moment I'm doing an MSc. in Environmental Forestry at
> Bangor University, North Wales (UK). I'm doing my dissertation on
> homegardens of tropical areas and forest gardens of temperate regions.
...Wow! What a resource this will be! How can we obtain a copy?
> explain briefly: Tropical homegardens are an agroforestry practice
> whereby an area (of around 0.5 ha) around the house is planted up with
> useful (usually multi-purpose) trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers and are
> arranged in 3-5 vertical strata in a way that makes optimal use of light
> and space. It's a sustainable, ecologically sound system that provides
> fruit, vegetables, medicines, spices, fuel wood, timber and virtually every
> thing that subsistence requires. Staple foods are grown in fields around
> the homestead. Animals are usually part of the system, there are nearly
> always poultry of some sort and often goats/cattle etc penned near the
...This is an image of traditional Javanese home gardens (Indonesia).
As well as the above, they incorporate fish culture fed on waste and
Somewhere, I have an article or two on these gardens which, if you
need them, I can attempt to locate and post to you. I imagine you
already have plenty of information on them.
Sounds like permaculture doesn't it? although these have been used
> for hundreds if not thousands of years - long before the word permaculture
> was created by Bill Mollison!
...Sure have! Permaculture acknowledges a great debt to traditional
agriculture. It has drawn heavily on traditional systems and I believe
that we have only scratched the surface in what we can learn from
traditional systems. This is where your research becomes so valuable.
Do you plan to make it available as an information resource?
It's thought that it evolved as a practice
> when population pressure got too high to allow a sufficiently long fallow
> period in shifting agriculture/bush fallow systems to maintain soil
...This process continues today. The organisation I work for - APACE
(Appropriate Technology for Community and Environment) as a project
manager is presently involved in implementing a development assistance
project in the Solomon Islands (off NE coast of Papua New Guinea).
There, our field officer, Tony Jansen, is assisting islanders to learn
settled agriculture using permaculture as a planning framework and
With a growing population, fallow periods in the traditional slash and
burn swidden agriculture have become too short to allow fertility
recovery. Just as you say.
As far as temperate forest gardening goes it's a relatively
> new concept, pioneered in Britain by Robert Hart. Interest is mainly from
> the permaculture movement
...Agroforestry is of great interest to Australian permaculturists as
well. The Australian federal and state governments are also
encouraging it as a form of ecologically sustainable farming which is
profitable to farmers.
As well, they encourage, through the Farm Forestry scheme via which
they offer financial assistance, the growing of timber as a crop on
degraded farm land.
Further to this has been the formation last year of the Subtropical
Farm Forestry Association which promotes farm forestry and, this year,
the Australian Rainforest Bushfood Association came into being to
further the interest of growers, processors and others involved in the
emerging indigenous bushfoods industry. These are commercial
applications of tree cropping and agroforestry.
> a design for a new forest garden which will be made at our University
...What an opportunity! I've read a couple of Robert Hart's books (not
his new book which is not yet available in Australia) and have seen
his cool temperate forest garden in the UK on Global Gardener. Be
interested in seeing your design!
In Sydney, we can grow both temperate and subtropical species which
creates opportunities for interesting tree cropping polycultures.
My interest in permaculture is as a permaculture teacher - I co-teach
Permaculture Design Courses and introductory courses and teach
permaculture as a subject in the horticulture course at TAFE
(technical tertiary education).
My other interests are as a writer/ publisher on permaculture, as
state co-ordinator of the Australian City Farms, Community Gardens and
Enterprise Centres Network and for permaculture in schools projects.
Write back if there's anything I can help with and stay in touch about
...keep on greening...
PERMACULTURE EXTENSION SERVICES
Russ Grayson and Fiona Campbell
PO Box 446, Kogarah NSW 2217 AUSTRALIA
Phone 02-9588 6931 (IDD-61+2+9588 6931)
Fax 02 330 2611 (Mark fax: ATTN: RUSS GRAYSON - APACE)
Permaculture education, publishing, design.
NSW co-ordinator, Australian City Farms and Gardens Network.