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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.
> 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 homegardens. They
incorporate, in addition, aquaculture. Fish are fed on household waste
and eventually become food for the household.
Somewhere I have an article or two on this and, if you would like a
copy, I could sent it by post. You probably already have heaps 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!
Permaculture acknowledges an information debt to traditional
agriculture. It has drawn heavily upon traditional systems and I
believe that there is much more to learn.
This is where your research becomes so valuable. Do you plan to make
it available for distribution?
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 the implementation of training for village health and nutrition
through the development of home gardens and small scale market gardens
in the Solomon Islands (NE of Papua New Guinea).
Using permaculture as a design and planning tool, our field officer,
Tony Jansen, is training villagers in settled agriculture because
their swidden (slash and burn) agriculture has hit the wall of
increasing population and fallow periods too short to allow sufficient
fertility recivery. It's 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 permaculture designers in
Fortunately, governments are interested in agroforestry and in the
growing of commercial timbers on private farm land - farm forestry -
and make grants to farmers planting tree crops on degraded farm land
as an income earner and as a means of reversing land degradation. This
is the Farm Forestry scheme.
In northern NSW the Subtropical Farm Forestry Association was formed
over a year ago to further the adoption of farm forestry and, more
recently, the Australian Rainforest Bushfoods Association was formed
to further the emerging industry in indigenous food crops and the use
of indigenous species for industrial products such as the extraction
of aromatic oils. Both these tree cropping systems fit the
> What is the focus of your interest in permaculture?
My interest in permaculture is as a co-teacher of permaculture design
courses, short courses in permaculture and as a teacher of
permaculture in the TAFE (technical and further education) in the
I also write about permaculture and publish permaculture related
material, work with a design team implementing permaculture in schools
and as NSW co-ordinator of the Australian City Farms, Community
Gardens and Enterprise Centres Network. Then htere's my work in
development assistance in the Pacific with APACE...
> Best wishes - Sarah (Gowland).
Thanks for the communication Sarah. Let's know if there's anything I
can help with.
Oh, you're temperate forest garden - sounds interesting. Seen the work
of Robert Hart on video (Global Gardener) and have a couple of his
books - not his latest which is not yet available in Australia. Would
love to see your design.
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.