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Common Sense Solutions - Starting Now

Permaculture Farm Production

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Agro Ecology

Helen Atthowe runs the Biodesign Farm in Montana. She used to be an organic farmer. Now she has created a veganic forest garden based on a functioning forest ecosystem. You might call it Permaculture Farming... but is that a contradiction in terms? She calls it Veganic Permaculture.

They are developing a farm production system based on natural nutrient cycles, farm grown fertilizer and conservation water management, biological insect and disease control and weed ecology.

The goal is to increase profitability by decreasing labor and land requirements while striving to mimic the ecological principles that make native plant systems sustainable. Their methods include reduced tillage, increased species and genetic diversity, closed nutrient cycles and creation of a more diverse habitat.

"Our idea of an eco-system farm is to try and manage inter relationships rather than to try and manage crops." she says.

"Veganic Permaculture is a willingness to balance my existence with the natural world. It means respecting the basic right of life for all things, from the soil microorganisms whom I try not to disturb with tillage, to the birds, butterflies, and insects whom I do not poison with insecticides, the weeds who are not killed with herbicides, and the animals who are not killed for food." she says at her website*.

She works with the eco-system instead of trying to control it. They use a living green mulch ground cover - perfect habitat for spiders and ground beetles and other beneficial insects...which led to all kinds of other animals showing up.

Unexpected surprises, but all good for the eco system in the long run!

--Bibi Farber

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*Read more about this farm and the methods used at