Despite sharing most of the principles backing all regenerative approaches, Syntropic Farming was devised by Ersnt in Brazil without any influence from other regenerative approaches or design systems. Although many people have been comparing Syntropic Farming with Permaculture, they are different things. Syntropic Farming is a forest-based food production system, and Permaculture is a holistic design system (dealing with food production, energy, water, waste, housing, etc. And that is why Permaculture, or any other regenerative design system for this matter, can make use of Syntropic Farming methods when it suits the design’s context. In this article I discuss the positioning of tree rows in relation to sun aspect and hydrology in a way that integrates Key-line design concepts to Syntropic Farming .
Many experienced permaculturists and foresters, at first, dismiss Syntropic farming. They usually think that Syntropic Farming is just a “re-branding” of Agroforestry Systems (AFS) or of the Permaculture Food Forest with a strong take on the “chopping and dropping” system maintenance. Ernst Gotsch’s insights and classifications, however, are much deeper. In this article I discuss some basic differences between the classic Permaculture Food Forest and the AFS developed within the Syntropic Farming principles.
The notes below are a guideline for the implementation of Syntropic Farming plots. They are, by no means, a ‘how to’ check list. Instead these reflections are our way of connecting with other fellow designers to get some feedback and exchange some ideas. As we get ourselves ready for the implementation of our next plot here in Australia, we will share more about our project.
The main function of the Egg Mobile System is to improve pastures using the egg mobile following. In this case the chicken system moves into a paddock 3 days after the cattle has been moved away from it. The chickens will then sanitise this paddock eating flies, insects, ticks, parasites, etc. that could otherwise be a problem due to the cattle being managed in high concentration numbers (rotational grazing). While providing this sanitation service the chickens also complement their diet. Another function provided by the chickens is to spread the manure left by the cattle in the paddock.
This article is based on one of Ernst Gotsch’s anecdotes about how he learnt the notion of phenomenological time from the Pygmies of arid Namibia in Africa. The linear notion of time is a Judeo-Christian concept that is adopted by most societies worldwide today. This notion implies that the future will be different from what has gone before. Traditional cultures in general understand time as cyclical. This notion is based on the way that natural phenomena repeats itself over time. Tribal life, or a life in close contact with nature implies yet another concept of time; the phenomenological notion of time. This notion implies the perception of natural phenomena that is interconnected. For example, when the flowering of certain plants or the appearance of certain animals indicate that another natural phenomena is about to happen.
Ernst Gotsch, the father of Syntropic Farming emphasises in his teachings that the human being is not the most intelligent animal in the planet. According to him we are only one of the species that compose an intelligent system and we need to learn how to play our role accordingly.
As part of our outreach and community development programmes we will be holding our Introduction to Permaculture Talk at the Murwillumbah Library. This one hour talk will show you how Permaculture can be used to design mimicking nature. You will learn how Permaculture integrates food production, renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and waste management systems to create abundant, healthy and resilient lifestyles. The Q&A session afterwards will give people a chance to clarify their doubts, share their comments and network.
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