It is now widely recognised that the production gains of intensive farming are accompanied by negative environmental impacts which jeopardize the very future of agriculture as intensive farming destroys the natural resources upon which it relies. The list of negative effects include soil degradation, salination of over extracted areas, over extraction and pollution of ground water, resistance to pesticides, erosion of biodiversity etc, deforestation, the emission of green houses gases and air pollutants.
According to the European Commission global agriculture needs to be doubled by 2050 to feed the human population which is predicted to reach 11 billion at the earth’s maximum carrying capacity in 2050. But at the same time they conclude that this will need to be done with less water, fewer pesticides and green house gas emissions amid the growing competition for land. The United Nations has recognized permaculture as a solution, by working with the very force that intensive agriculture fights against, food production can be achieved without the negative effects and with higher yields. It has been successfully applied in exhausted areas condemned as infertile such as the barren salt field’s of Australia, over grazed scorched pastures of Africa, the eroded palm oil plantations of the South America, and the ploughed fields and degraded pastures of Great Britain. Permaculture has also been widely applied to small holdings and peoples back gardens an as the awareness of the need for sustainability increases more and more people are picking up spades to become more self reliant.