A PERMACULTURE FOOD FOREST.
The tropics is like the Formula 1 of plant growth; everything grows really fast here. Abundant sunlight and rainfall makes it the perfect place to grow plants - that is, if you know which ones to grow. It isn’t a place where huge amounts of annual crops, like lettuce and corn should be grown, let alone in soil mining monocultures. Although doable, it simply isn’t efficient enough.
To know how and what we should grow here in the tropics, we have to look at the time tested example nature has shown us: forests. Yes, before the advent of agriculture Indonesia was a vast expanse of lush, green forest. A tropical forest is the fastest growing and most biodiverse system in the world.
Permaculture, being a design science geared for efficiency in production, looks towards nature for inspiration on how to best grow an abundance of food. Forests can grow huge amounts of biomass without a single grain of artificial fertilizer, providing food for the numerous fauna it houses.
Humans can also grow forests to cater for our main food and energy needs. This is done by emulating a forest system; selecting an array of synergistic species in space and time - nitrogen fixing fodder plants, livestock, fruit trees, and sugar producing palms. Choosing a multitude of species ensures continuous harvests, providing an abundance of food all year round. Ample amounts of fruits, vegetables, meat, honey and medical plants can be cultivated in a fast growing food production system, by utilizing the prodigious growth rate and biodiversity our underratedly beautiful part of the world has to offer.
We must look away from monoculture systems that are based on undermining our greatest asset - the tropical forests. Deforestation has ravaged the tropical world for long enough, greatly contributing to climate change. It’s time to put a stop on this draconian practice of food and energy production, and instead look towards methods that can produce food and energy in a sustainable manner indefinitely.
Check out the food forest that we are growing for Project MX here.