There was a great article on "polycropping" in the July/August issue of this magazine, which has a website (www.smallfarmcanada.ca). I was very happy to see the author quote experts stating outright that monocultures are unhealthy and unnatural, and then go on to give several examples of how polycropping might work on a farm of any size. Somehow he managed to get through the entire article without using the word permaculture, but one step at a time. One farmer was quoted as having doubled his soil's organic composition to over four percent, also producing 140 bushels per acre of corn WITHOUT FERTILIZER.
Although some people are apparently trying to take credit for having "discovered" this idea, which I classify as being akin to Columbus having "discovered" America (I intend to write them a letter alerting them to the existence of Sepp Holzer and Masanobu Fukuoka), the fact that this subject is being openly discussed by commercial farmers is a great thing. The same issue contains a speech by Bill Gates in which he says that the recent spike in food prices over the past three years has devastating economic implications for hundreds of millions, if not billions of people... and the population will grow by 2 billion in the next 40 years. Radical reform in farming methods is the answer (and not GMO crops, as Gates believes). As long as polyculture/permaculture-style farming keeps getting exposure, at least we are moving in the right direction.
I'm glad to see people making these conclusions as a result of their own research/experimentation. I just wish that more people were aware of permaculture... Maybe we'd see a quicker change for the better.
I think we should send a collective email/petition to Bill Gates.
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
Collection of 14 Permaculture/Homesteading Cheat-Sheets, Worksheets, and Guides