Pip Permaculture Magazine

Permaculture for food security and sovereignty

Permaculture is a design system for sustainable living and land use that is being applied to every aspect of life, but it is best known in its application to food production, at scales from the garden to the farm.

The focus on food in permaculture is not just an accident of history or publicity. The globalised food production/consumption chain is the greatest contributor to environmental impact, while food security remains the most critical issue in human wellbeing and social stability. Food security is a condition that ‘exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’.1

Through the 20th century the industrial system increased agricultural productivity and capacity for processing, preservation and distribution, by accelerating direct and indirect use of fossil fuels and precious mineral reserves. In the process it has degraded soils and polluted waters globally.

Despite these and many other adverse consequences, the capacity of industrial agriculture to produce great surpluses has been real, and food costs are a small proportion of income for the global middle class. However, this has not translated into food abundance for all because

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