2018 - A test year.
Increasingly, food growers around the world are recognizing that modern agricultural systems are unsustainable. Practices such as monocultures and excessive tilling degrade the soil and encourage pests and diseases. The artificial fertilizers and pesticides that farmers use to address these problems pollute the soil and water and harm the many organisms upon which successful agriculture depends, from pollinating bees and butterflies to the farm workers who plant, tend and harvest our crops. As the soil deteriorates, it is able to hold less water, causing farmers to strain already depleted water reservoirs.
In the search for alternative, sustainable food growing practices, gardeners are turning to traditional farming methods used prior to the advent of plows, artificial chemicals and mechanized irrigation systems. The founders of permaculture, for example, developed their set of agricultural principles by studying “premodern” food systems around the world. In turn, they developed an agricultural method that promotes indigenous agricultural practices. This connection between culture and land shaped and continues to shape indigenous agriculture by creating food growing practices that are adapted to specific, local environments and that work with as opposed to against natural processes. Traditional Native American farming practices exemplify this relationship.