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Permaculture in Thailand, By: Suvajack

Permaculture in Southeast Asia: What is it, Who’s Doing it & How does it Help?

By: Monica Dominguez

For gardeners experienced and amateur alike, permaculture, an idea developed about 30 years ago, is all the rage. A combination of the words permanent and agriculture, the idea of permaculture is based around observing and using the pre-existing natural conditions of an area to develop and maintain a sustainable and long-term system of organic agriculture that ideally does not cause harm to the ecosystem or environment there.

Check out this article for tips on making your own permaculture garden. Learn how to help permaculture farms, grow organic vegetables and increase sustainability.

Permaculture in Thailand, By: Suvajack

Permaculture in Thailand, By: Suvajack

Permaculture is particularly successful in Southeast Asia and other tropical climates because the balance of moisture and heat in the air is ideal for growth and decay. According to Birgit Bradtke of the website Tropical Permaculture,  the design of the garden is the key to growing successful vegetables. “

If you think ahead and design your permaculture garden right, it won’t take much effort, it will mostly look after itself, and it will also be incredibly productive and beautiful and attractive to wildlife.”

Many farms in Asia offer permaculture design courses, where people that are interested can become certified permaculture designers.

Anyone can design a permaculture garden, By: Suvajack

Anyone can design a permaculture garden, By: Suvajack

Permaculture Design

Many people, though they dream of growing a garden are unmotivated to actually do it or uninformed about how to go about doing it. The advantage to permaculture is that anyone can do it, even during the rainy season. Although permaculture depends on observation of the particular environment in which it is occurring to see what is growing where already, etc., there is still a basic system to design your garden so that it is most effective.

In the part of your garden that is closest to the house and nearest the paths most travelled, it is important to grow the plants that need the most attention here. If you are travelling past seedlings frequently you will remember that they need water constantly, etc. You can also grow the smaller herbs that you wish to pick and use in daily meals here, because they will be easily accessible.

The farther away you get from your house in the garden the plants should vary based on maintenance and attention needed gradually, ending with the native self-sustaining native plants that do not need attention the farthest away from your house. Too see more about permaculture designs, please refer to the Permaculture Design Guide. Plants that flourish in the rainy season in Indonesia include roots like sweet potatoes, squash, cassava, snake beans, some spinach, rambutan, papaya, etc.

Embun Pagi Farm in Malaysia, By: Mezza Mela

Embun Pagi Farm in Malaysia, By: Mezza Mela

Permaculture Community and Economy

As useful as permaculture is for personal home gardening, many organizations and communities in Southeast Asia are promoting and teaching it on a larger scale. IDEP, a foundation based in Bali, has many crucial objectives, but one of their main missions is to use permaculture to train and protect the smaller communities in the area and create self-sustaining economies through permaculture. They are also focused on training disaster-struck areas to use permaculture in their recovery processes.

Sustainable permaculture compost, By: Suvajack

Sustainable permaculture compost, By: Suvajack

Permaculture is the most important aspect on disaster mitigation efforts because it increases community awareness on the importance of sustainability of their natural environment, thus, will give an added value on the economical and ecological aspects they state on the IDEP website.

TacomePai organic farm in Pai, Northern Thailand, is taking a different approach and offering permaculture courses. Tuition for these courses includes many lessons in permaculture and sustainability, training in use of local tools and local plants/ herbs/medicines, meals and accommodation.

Many farms and organizations including Permaculture Perak in Malaysia, offer free housing for volunteers. Permaculture Perak is also unique in their focus on proper waste management and disposal.

All of these organizations, each unique yet united in their cause, are accepting donations and volunteers. This is an excellent opportunity for travelers and foreigners and locals to help, experience and become informed about permaculture and its impact on and potential in the world.

Useful Permaculture Links:

  • The website of Tropical Permaculture has a lot of information including Permaculture Design Guidelines and how to grow various fruits and vegetables in a tropical climate, as well as links to other informative sources.

  • IDEP (Indonesia) is a foundation promoting permaculture on Bali.

  • Tacomepai (Thailand) is located in Pai in Northern Thailand and offers.

  • Permaculture Perak (Malaysia) in Perak also offer insight in proper waste management and disposal.

  • YUM (Indonesia).

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