Introduction to integrated methods in the vegetable garden
Chapter : Biocontrols
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⇒ Permaculture; an example of pseudo-science and mysticism in agriculture
For several years, permaculture has been a media success with a profusion of books, press articles and websites, when it is not praised on public television channels. According to its followers, permaculture is an essential partner in the ecological transition.
Permaculture is not only a farming technique. It is also a way of life linked to an agrarian system similar to agroforestry that takes into account the interdependence between human societies and their environment. Permaculture practitioners claim to be part of the agroecology movement. They have to respect rules of conduct and a form of agriculture that combines traditional knowledge with recent notions of agronomy. Firstly, all agricultural activity must be based on the observation of nature, and more precisely on the functioning of local ecosystems. These are then mimicked in the space reserved for agriculture.
The rules of conduct aim above all to reduce energy expenditure by banning all tools and inputs that consume non-renewable energy. Why? Fossil fuels are not eternal and we must be prepared to face their disappearance, which will not be long in coming in a few decades.
Permaculture also aims to combat the environmental damage caused by industrialisation and intensive agriculture. Mechanisation is replaced by manual work. Goodbye tractor, weeder, irrigation pump with thermal or electric engine... and long live the campagnole (a) and animal traction.
It should be noted that permaculture uses cultivation techniques recommended in integrated or organic agriculture, such as plant cover and mulching with organic matter. The usefulness of these techniques is now well recognised, giving credence to the idea that permaculture is part of an avant-garde vision of environmentally friendly agriculture. Is this really the case?
Like many pseudo-scientific theories, permaculture refers to some accurate scientific data and some that are misinterpreted or distorted for ideological purposes. The result is that false arguments varnished with mysticism are used to justify backward and inefficient practices. Here are some examples:
To combat bio-agressors, permaculturists rely mainly on plant interaction, mixtures of essential oils or various herbal decoctions and teas. Everything has to come from nature, in which there are many solutions for feeding the soil, maintaining the plants and combating bio-agressors. However, the effectiveness of in the open air cultivation associations is often derisory, as the most aggressive bio-aggressors are frequently polyphagous and they can easily detect and select the scents from the plants they covet from the maze of different odours they perceive. Treatments based on plant extracts have always had a very limited action, which explains why farmers have abandoned them in favour of synthetic pesticides (and recently organic ones such as pyrethrins) when the latter became available.
It should also be noted that in permaculture the choice of home-grown seeds is favoured, which is not the best guarantee against diseases and genetic degeneration.
And why shouldn't we also trust the cosmic forces of biodynamics?
a) Tool designed to aerate the soil without turning it over, manufactured by a French company (Fabriculture) with the collaboration of the Bec Hellouin Permaculture Farm.
In the permaculture vegetable garden of the Valsainte Abbey in the Alpes de Haute-Provence, stored rainwater is sent to a copper funnel that reproduces the vortex described by the naturalist and forester Viktor Schauberger. In this funnel, the water would be dynamised like the water that flows in rivers with obstacles, in order to give it back "its living structure, which is therefore beneficial to plants".
Another example that shows the power of mysticism in permaculture practices: Visitors to the AFIS (French Association for Scientific Information) discovered in Pierre Rabbi's experimental farm in the Ardèche, a deer mesentery used as a kind of gastric talisman hung on the ridge of a house to capture lots of positive energy (1).
The first guiding principles of permaculture were set out in two books by its founders; Bill Mollison and David Holmgren: "Permaculture one" written in 1978 and "Permaculture two" written by Bill Mollison in 1979. In 2003, the fundamental principles of Permaculture were refined by David Holmgren in his now famous book "Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability". In an attempt to give credibility to these recommendations, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren created a living community called "Tagari" in Stanley, Tasmania, Australia. Subsequently, Patrick Whitefield incorporated a new layer to the founders' principles in his books, including The Earth Care Manual published in 2005, with his vision of integrated living in nature to create resilient facilities that mimic natural ecosystems that are self-sustaining, productive and energy efficient where everything lives in harmony. Other authors will bring a personal touch, such as Australian lecturer Geoff Lawton, or Jordan Rubin-Jordan, owner of the Heal the Planet Farm in Missouri.
Permaculture, like other approaches claiming to be organic, grew out of the beliefs and fears of the post 1960s. Permaculture embraces the analyses of the neo-Malthusian biologist Ehrlich of Stanford University, and the Club of Rome. We must prepare for the inevitable collapse of industrial society as a result of the depletion of fossil energy resources and a return to subsistence farming. This collapse is expected to occur by 2100 at the latest. Science would be unable to stop this development. According to the founders of permaculture, 4 catastrophes are expected in a precise order of appearance: famine, soil erosion, widespread poverty and viruses (contagious viral diseases).
Cultivation without disturbing the natural balance.
In permaculture, ploughing is forbidden as well as weeding. Why is this? Weeds are said to participate in beneficial interactions with cultivated plants as in a forest; an idyllic vision that ignores the aggressiveness of weeds against cultivated plants, described in a chapter of this website by clicking here. Synthetic fertilisers and plant protection products are also prohibited, because in a natural forest no one uses these inputs to feed and protect the plants. These practices are necessarily related to a truncated vision of nature as if it had been invented for the development of man. But permaculture also wants to provide a solution to a predicted end of the world.
Permaculture's edible forest gardens aim to restore a presumed ideal state of natural balance that humans have disrupted by destroying forests and ploughing land.
By seeking to mimic the balance of ecosystems, nature is restored. Returning to the balance of nature is not a recent vision. It can be found in writings dating back to antiquity. According to these writings, if nature is left to its own devices, it will maintain a state of equilibrium, and agricultural methods must respect this same principle.
Cultivating without disturbing the natural balance is also the objective of "natural agriculture", also known as "wild agriculture", the foundations of which were defined by the Japanese Masanobu Fukuoka. In order not to disturb nature, it is necessary to act on it as little as possible and to re-establish the spiritual unification between man and nature. It is forbidden to plough, to pull up weeds, to use fertilisers and pesticides, not to prune the crops... The only thing to do is to sow, then to harvest. Permaculture is not revolutionary. It is nothing more than a "modernised" adaptation of thousand-year-old and erroneous allegations that contradict the fundamental bases of agronomic science.
Can we believe that thousands of agricultural engineers throughout the world have made mistakes and that we should accept as gospel the assertions of a few self-proclaimed geniuses who are convinced that it is enough to trust natural balances? Yet it is easy for an amateur gardener without much experience to see that imbalance is everywhere in nature and especially in his ornamental garden and vegetable garden, which are subject to constant disturbances such as physical stresses linked to climate change, competition for access to light, water and nutrients, the pressure of bio-aggressors that changes from one year to the next, the appearance of a new, more aggressive predator that can even cause immeasurable damage to the environment.
One could cite numerous examples of natural imbalances caused by various uncontrollable factors that occur in nature every year throughout France and elsewhere. These natural imbalances can have catastrophic consequences. Here is an example reported in the local press (La Provence Tuesday 27 April 2021) which occurred in March 2021 at "Les Mees", a village in Haute-Provence. Nearly 200 kg of dead carp affected by the spring viremia virus were removed from a well-known lake (Joël-Siguret lake) popular with walkers. This epidemic develops when the temperature is between 11 and 17 degrees. The virus was certainly brought by piscivorous birds and the contamination was all the more important following the heat wave of March 2021 when the carps gather in spring to reproduce.
Here is another well-known example of the evolution of a bio-agressors in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region: the decline of lavender and lavandin since the early 2000s. The etiological agent of this bacterial decline is the stolbur phytoplasma, which is present in conventional and organic agriculture. The main vector of this phytoplasma is the leafhopper Hyalesthes obsoletus, a highly polyphagous stinging-sucking insect which also occurs in tobacco, potato and tomato plantations.
As for the consequences of the disappearance of fossil fuels, there is no shortage of scientific work demonstrating that it is possible to use other solutions such as renewable energies. For example, in France, there are significant untapped offshore wind resources. Methanisation of agricultural residues could satisfy a large part of gas needs. As far as nuclear energy is concerned, France's uranium 238 reserves could be sufficient to meet electricity needs for 2,000 years when the breeder reactor project is resumed (Russia is already ahead of the game with this technology (5)). The experimental nuclear fusion reactor ITER also aims to meet the energy needs of future generations from an energy source whose reserves are immense (deuterium). There is therefore no reason to panic and announce that a disaster would be inevitable in a few years' time, justifying the adoption of permaculture as the only possible response to the disappearance of fossil fuels.
Permaculture aims to "address the environmental crisis facing mankind" (2), but not only that. Some followers see permaculture as the manifestation of a "regeneration ethic" that prefigures a post-capitalist society. It is about developing alternatives to dominant capitalism in order to ensure goals of "social justice, emancipation and abundance" (3). These ideological principles are not new. They are already evoked in the various experiments of utopian communism of the 19th century, whose methods were criticised by K. Marx (e.g. in the Communist Manifesto chapter III).
To combat the environmental crisis, the founders of permaculture propose a significant decrease in population and a degrowth economy. But how to ensure the goal of abundance in a degrowth economy? For a permaculture practitioner, abundance may not mean the same thing as the average person. No more of the energy-intensive treats of consumer society. It's all about meeting the basic needs of human beings.
What kind of society do the founders of permaculture propose? The objective of reducing the economic system essentially to agricultural activities implies that in the future more than 90% of the population will return to work in the fields with the social organisation model of the self-help communities of libertarian communism.
As for the choice of plants cultivated to satisfy our basic needs, crops that consume a lot of energy, water and inputs are not recommended. Perennials and fruit trees should be preferred. Growing vegetables with trees is also recommended. Cereals, on the other hand, are considered secondary crops. This is why market gardening and fruit trees are most often found on permaculture model farms. It is understandable that cereals are disliked because of the technical constraints imposed by the cropping system.
It is often mentioned in texts dealing with permaculture that it is particularly adapted to micro-farms. This agricultural practice would avoid the disappearance of small farmers and would even be a source of employment, realising the dream of a return to the land and to the numerous small farms of the 19th century which employed millions of peasants. A market garden farm run according to permaculture methods would be profitable from a surface of 10 ares, but with what income for the permaculturist? There are many small animal-drawn farms in the world, such as in Bangladesh, which are notorious for their low yields and chronic poverty.
This is also the type of agriculture that prevailed throughout the world before the pre-industrial era, as described in a famous book by Félicien PARISET, "Mœurs et usages du LAURAGAIS" (4) (awarded a gold medal by the Société Nationale d'Agriculture). This work could constitute a reference and a model of direction for the followers of permaculture, as its fundamental principles are to be found. Thus, in the 19th century, the following predominated : peasant seeds, the absence of chemical fertilisers replaced by farmyard manure, the use of animal traction and the massive use of manual labour, long rotations to compensate for the lack of organic inputs provided by mixed farming and livestock farms, etc., were all prevalent.
The consequences of this unprofitable pre-industrial agriculture (e.g. 13.6 quintals per ha for wheat, i.e. 6 times less than the yields of today's cereal farms) are also known: massive recourse to free family labour (women and children from the age of 12) and day labourers receiving a derisory salary barely allowing them to satisfy their basic needs, pellagra (or "misery sickness"), an endemic disease due to malnutrition and vitamin B3 deficiency, illiteracy as a rule among children who leave catechism school without having learnt to read or write as soon as they receive their first communion in order to help their parents with the work in the fields... It is true that today's permaculturists in France do not employ 12 year olds. However, they are replaced in model farms by the voluntary work of trainees whose stay and training are fee-paying for and constitute their main financial resource for survival.
Is the reduction in energy expenditure guaranteed by returning to animal traction? A tractor does not consume energy when it is at rest, which is not the case for an animal that has to eat and drink every day. A 400 kg horse must eat about 10 kg of vegetable matter (cereals, fodder, etc.) every day, which must therefore be provided for in the cultivated area.
When you read the works of the founders of permaculture (or those who copy them), you are struck by the banality of the advice they give, written in the form of commandments. Some of these commandments are so obvious that no one would dare to deny them, and many farmers apply them without knowing it. Perhaps that is why Moses did not write them in stone. What are these commandments?
They are ethical principles (care for the land, care for people...), design principles (observe before interacting, achieve efficiency, integrate instead of separate, use and value renewable resources and diversity, respond creatively to change, create beneficial interactions, do not produce waste that cannot be recycled....), and 'attitude' principles (work with nature rather than against it; the problem is the solution...) (3).
The application of all these principles is made concrete on the farm by the establishment of strata and zones sharing the human environment. The strata distinguish large trees from smaller fruit trees, shrubs, cereals and climbing plants. As for the zones, from the house to the wild forest, 6 spaces are defined: the house, the zone close to the house, the vegetable garden, the orchard and other crops, the edible forest and the wild forest, all organised in such a way as to make the most of the energy that the system would be able to capture and conserve.
In practical terms, the creation of a permaculture farm requires first observing the environment such as the position of the cultivated land in relation to the wind, the obstacles that reduce sunlight, the location of a water source for irrigation... Then the different elements of the farm are set up, such as the location of the edible forest planted with walnut and chestnut trees, the position of the vegetable garden in relation to the house to limit travel, the organisation of the vegetable garden into flat beds where combinations of vegetables will grow, the protection of a greenhouse against the wind by a hedge made up of small fruit trees, the position of the fields cultivated with cereals where animal traction will be used...
In the writings of permaculture, it is often mentioned that permaculture would ensure a gentle "energy descent" from fossil fuels. This new World of production that is on the horizon is defined by a seven-branched flower that is supposed to represent the vital areas that bring together ethics and design principles "(6) to support humanity in the energy descent".
Principles and prohibitions that are difficult to respect.
Local circumstances are sometimes formidable for permaculture theories and exceptions have to be made. For example, it is very difficult to do without plastic pipes in drip irrigation. This technique is essential when there is a lack of water; a recurrent situation in the Mediterranean region. This technique adopted in the permaculture garden of Valsainte Abbey is included in a gravity watering system using rainwater stored at high levels and conveyed through plastic pipes. In addition, not everyone has a high water source.
Of all those who claim to be inspired by permaculture methods, how many respect all the principles set out by the founders? Are all the prohibitions respected, such as the use of tractors, including for transporting compost, as I noticed in a report broadcast on a television channel? The difficulties being numerous and the results not very convincing, many do not say everything about the derogations that they take in secret, especially as there is no official control with the attribution of a label as in organic farming.
Let us return to one of the fundamental objectives of permaculture; the reproduction of natural forest ecosystems as a method of cultivation.
Agriculture, as an economic activity, has as its fundamental purpose the satisfaction of human needs that are considered indispensable. Farmers produce exportable foodstuffs. To achieve this goal, farmers are forced to transform the natural environment, starting with deforestation, and then importing plants useful to humans. Every cultivated field is an artificial habitat created by man that persists as long as this artificial environment is maintained. The founders of permaculture recognised that agriculture produces an artificial ecosystem, but it must mimic the original ecosystem. However, it is difficult to have both, the natural (forests) and the artificial (crops), at the same time, as their functions are different:
Are forest soils that are used as examples in permaculture really suitable for agricultural activities? Forests producing neutral humus where deciduous trees predominate are often cited as examples, but this overlooks a major difficulty: the fragility of their biodiversity:
Humus production in forests is very slow, especially for the products of wood decomposition. When the forest is transformed into a cultivated area, this humus eventually disappears if no attempt is made to replace it with inputs (compost, manure, etc.), or even with green manure covers, but which will not produce the same humus (less stable and degrading more quickly). Allowing a few weeds to grow between crops will not compensate for the loss of forest humus.
Soils under grassland and forest cover (cereal crops combined with grassland seedlings or trees planted in the plot) have the lowest average levels of microbial diversity compared to agricultural or viticultural soils in conventional agriculture (7).
A forest can be very dense with an interesting biodiversity without allowing profitable exports because its elements do not support the slightest imbalance in mineral salts generated by exports. This is one of the reasons why forest productivity is much lower than in conventional agriculture.
The presence of forest areas near crops is not necessarily a guarantee of beneficial interactions. For cereal crops, it is well known that the leafroller (Cnephasia) is the main insect to watch out for during bolting until heading in woodland edges or sheltered plots.
Not only do cultivated plants not tolerate competition from the roots of large trees, they also do not tolerate their shading, unlike all herbaceous forest plants.
Cultivated plants are essentially heliophilous and ruderal plants that cannot survive in the forest. The ancestors of cultivated plants appeared in various countries at the edge of forests, paths and marshy areas that are constantly being reworked by human action. As far as vegetable crops are concerned, why is the term vegetable crops used if not in relation to their origins (a)!
Cultivated plants have evolved through the selective action of farmers to meet their requirements, i.e. to produce exportable crops quickly in a system that is constantly out of balance and that these same farmers are trying to control (by controlling predators, using fertilisers to compensate for nutrient losses, etc.).
Crop plants are generally unable to survive in a competitive environment unless humans intervene on their behalf by eliminating weeds and bio-agressors. From seed to harvest, crops cannot survive alone. Do we find maize, cucumbers and tomatoes growing wild in our forests?
Most vegetable plants are imported species. This is also the case for cereals; wheat and barley were imported from the East to France around 7000 BC. Apart from the fruits of the oak and chestnut trees, lentils, radishes, sea beetroot and berries found on the edges of forests, all the other fruits and vegetables consumed today were unknown in the Neolithic period.
Interactions between the various actors in a managed ecosystem that would be favourable to agriculture are not systematic. While some associations are possible, other associations produce random or even incompatible results, depending on factors that are often uncontrollable. Trusting only in natural regulatory mechanisms that regulate pests through their predators has never been an effective solution in agriculture. Why is that? It's all described in another article on agroecology and ecosystem services, which can be accessed by clicking here.
The profitability of labour-intensive permaculture vegetable farms has not been proven. Due to a lack of mechanisation, many of those who have tried the experiment have found that they have to work 60-70 hours per week. The pay for the work varies between €7 and €9 per hour (10). The physical limits of human beings, the complexity of the cultivation routes, the low added value of the products, suggest that the maximum remuneration for work will remain quite low if permaculture becomes widespread, as were the farms of the Middle Ages or those still existing in poor countries using the same cultivation methods.
a) The term "cultures maraîchères" (market gardening) appeared in the 18th century and refers to the cultivation of vegetables in the marshes around Paris and later in other wetlands around rivers.
Numerous archaeological observations show that the first farmers all experienced the same problems caused by the process of plant domestication. The emergence of agriculture is the result of an evolutionary process that took place over thousands of years, leading sedentary peoples to select wild food resources, to protect them, and then to domesticate and cultivate them.
The first farmers realised that if there was a bad harvest, the population would starve, which was not the case for the less numerous nomadic peoples who lived by gathering and hunting. Thus, in the process of domesticating cereals, the first farmers had no other choice to avoid starvation than to make selections in order to obtain seeds with more interesting characteristics. For example, larger grains rich in carbohydrates and proteins that fall off the cob less easily, better resistance to bad weather, and more abundant harvests that can be stored. The fact that the grains remain in the ears favours harvesting, but hinders the reproduction of wheat in the wild. These selections have produced species whose reproduction is increasingly dependent on human action.
Farmers have favoured the emergence of characteristics in cultivated plants that natural selection cannot achieve, such as the hypertrophy of consumable organs: seeds, leaves, flowers... (useless in a natural environment, but advantageous for human nutrition). Here are some examples:
Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale do not exist in nature in the forms we know. These vegetable plants are derived from a wild mustard whose new characteristics were chosen and fixed by selecting plants that appeared in cultivation following successive mutations. Plants that did not correspond to the desired characteristics were discarded. Another example: the first maize selected by farmers appeared 9,000 years ago in Mexico from a wild ancestor, the teosinte, whose grains are protected by a husk that is difficult to digest. Cultivated maize does not lose its seeds and therefore cannot reproduce without human intervention. Similarly, the ear of cultivated maize does not fall to the ground, which makes it easier to harvest.
The selections made by our farming ancestors also aimed to create new varieties from imported plants in order to acclimatise them in their new environment. The artichoke originated in the western Mediterranean and is derived from the wild thistle. It was introduced into France during the Renaissance by Italians from the court of Catherine de Medici. Five varieties were known at the time (the sweet one from Genoa, the white one, the purple one, the green one and the red one). The Camus variety grown in Finistère and Côtes-du-Nord was created by an agronomist in the Paris region around 1810. This variety is particularly suited to the silty soil and mild climate of northern Brittany, which provides 75-80% of French artichoke production.
It was also through selections and crossbreeding that maize grown in the south of America was introduced into colder regions. In France, research by the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in 1957 provided farmers with varieties that were much better adapted to our climatic conditions, ensuring the cultivation of maize in the Paris basin and the north of France.
The primitive tomato (Solanum pimpinellifolium) was domesticated more than 7,000 years ago in Central America, where it was found in cultivated areas in the form of a herbaceous plant characterised by small, intensely flavoured fruits that are still found in Mexico (8). Over time, and as a result of selective breeding, the plant has evolved into the different species cultivated today with larger fruits, but less resistant to disease.
The selection of cultivated plants has resulted in a loss of genetic diversity of up to 70-80% for wheat, for example. Farmers' seeds, so highly valued by those who reject modern seeds, have long since been degraded compared to wild stands. Much of the gene polymorphism of the original crop population has been lost, including alleles involved in disease resistance (9). Thus, for more than 5,000 years, new cultivated varieties have emerged that are further and further removed from the original plants and have genetic traits that correspond to a protected environment. An environment that would be deleterious to crops if not maintained by the farmer.
Chard or sea beet (indicated by an arrow)
Herbaceous plant of the Chenopodiaceae family common on the coast. Consumed in ancient times by the Celts and probably in prehistoric times, this plant is considered the wild ancestor of all edible beets. Several cultivated varieties were already described in ancient times, notably by Pliny the Elder. Our ancestors favoured the emergence of new varieties by selectively choosing beets with ever larger roots, but less resistant to their predators.
As in permaculture, ecosystem services are emphasised in integrated farming. One might therefore imagine that these two farming systems are based on a common theoretical and methodological foundation. However, this is not the case and it is important to point this out to avoid confusion.
In integrated farming, there is no question of relying solely on the interactions between the components of an ecosystem, which have always proved insufficient to reduce pest pressure. Even if we take into account the usefulness of these interactions, we intervene directly in the ecosystem services to control them, for example by importing useful auxiliaries, by introducing physical protection such as anti-insect nets (even if these nets are petroleum products)...
These new plant protection techniques, still called "Integrated Biological Protection", which include biocontrol methods, are described in more detail by clicking here
According to some followers, different forms of permaculture are possible imposed by the diversification of local production and conditions. This is indeed mentioned in the texts of the founders. But all the different forms of permaculture must respond to the same imperative: to reduce energy expenditure as much as possible. There is therefore no monastic model that everyone must respect, except the obligation to ensure autonomous and sufficient energy production.
The freedom of choice of cultivation methods, taking into account local conditions, is not to the liking of certain followers who do not hesitate, for example, to publish vigorous statements on certain websites. Thus, permaculture is not immune to the emergence of a form of revisionism of its fundamental principles that some orthodox followers consider to be unacceptable deviations.
It is interesting to cite as an example, the case of cultivation on mounds (or the "ados" technique) containing different layers of organic matter and pieces of wood likely to nourish the soil through their decomposition. These mounds were for a long time a rite of passage in permaculture, introduced by Emilia Hazelip in the 1980s, and have since been denounced by some followers (11). This technique is still talked about today by other followers because of the advantages it would have (12). It should be noted that mounding is not the only popular permaculture practice. Other rituals that have not been validated by any serious scientific study are the permanent 'keyhole' beds and the 'mandala' gardens, which are said to 'induce energy' and 'spontaneous protection' against crop bio-agressors (13).
With regard to the Bec Hellouin farm in Normandy, often cited as a model of permaculture by environmentalists and endorsed in certain texts by INRA (14) and AgroParisTech (Institut des sciences et industries du vivant et de l'environnement), the forum-phyto website refers to two critical analyses carried out by organisations that are nonetheless favourable to alternative methods (15). We learn that in this model farm there is a massive use of imported manure, an absence of production of storage vegetables (a), an overestimation of yields, an underestimation of work time (the volunteer work of trainees is not counted), an overestimation of selling prices, the absence of comparability with organic market gardening, an income calculated on the basis of a harvested volume model to try to justify the farm's profitability, an underestimation of the surface area required, and above all, an overestimation of the farm's profitability by incorporating the sale of training courses, a frequent activity on this farm.
The management methods of the Bec Hellouin farm reported on the forum-phyto website are close to those described in a study of 5 January 2016 by Steve Munn (an Australian researcher specialising in social and environmental policies) on the farm of the founder of permaculture located in Australia. This study can be accessed by clicking here. This study also recalls the one carried out by the local section of AFIS on the experimental farm of the association Terre et Humanisme, the Mas de Beaulieu in Ardèche - the expert report is available by clicking here. The few experiments of model farms in permaculture have also been the subject of a critical analysis by Yann Kindo in Mediapart (16) and in France Agricole regarding the intensive use of volunteers (17).
As for the Bourdaisière "Farm of the Future" in Montlouis sur Loire, which is centred on permaculture, the website of "Terre de Touraine" of 23-5-2018 (18) specifies that after 4 years of operation, it is a flagrant failure that has been passed over in silence and not assumed. The objective announced in 2014 of a turnover of €100,000 to support 3 people was reduced in 2017 to €27,000, including the income from the registration of trainees from the adjoining training course who work for free on this farm. From 2014 to 2017, the summary of the data shows a constant deficit of €60 to €90,000.
a) Vegetables that are easier to keep after harvesting: carrots, celery, salad beetroot, white cabbage, red cabbage, kale, onions, etc.
1) CCMM Anthropophobie – L’homme est-il de trop ? – 1-10-2014
2) permaculture 1 - p 19
3) Laura Centumeci – INRA - sciences en question ; cycle de conférences 2017
4) Marseille : Laffitte Reprints, 1979
5) Surgénération et RNR ; Un moteur qui génèrerait plus d’essence qu’il n’en consomme
6) Soins à la nature et à la terre, habitat, outils et technologie, enseignement et culture, santé et bien-être, finance et économie, foncier et gouvernance
7) Atlas français des bactéries du sol p 69
8) Research Team Traces Evolution of the Domesticated Tomato ; 7-01-2020
9) Haudry et al. (2007)
10) sesame N°1 MAI 2017 • SCIENCES ET SOCIÉTÉ, ALIMENTATION. MONDES AGRICOLES ET ENVIRONNEMENT
11) Le mythe de la butte de permaculture par Christophe Gatineau
12) Jardin en permaculture : quelques techniques…
13) Jardins mandalas et permaculture ?
14) Ferme du Bec Hellouin : la beauté rend productif