No two farms are alike, hence the principles may remain the same but the practices are likely to differ
We visited many farms to learn and to be inspired. It would have been very easy to copy them and jump into implementation. But we decided to design our farm from scratch to match our intentions and accept the ambiguity and consequences of the future outcomes of our new design. So while Fukuoka grew vegetables in an orange orchard, rice in an open field and Bill Mollison recommends trees to be planted in a separate ‘Zone 5’ to be left alone, we decided to let the contours of our farm drive the design.
We decided to go for a pattern that has trees interspersed with crops. So there are rows of trees covering the entire farm – each row stretching from east to west with 25 feet distance between two rows. All vegetables, grains, legumes and herbs will be grown in between the rows of trees.
This design makes sense to us because South India has hot, tropical climate with erratic rains. So a tree covered farm will reduce the heat, maintain wetness in the soil, provide ample and distributed humus through falling leaves and twigs, attract birds, insects and small animals not to mention all things it would provide us (fruits, leaves, flowers, fuel, timber etc).
If we can convince a few cows, ducks, dogs and cats to come and live with us in the near future, we’ll have a farm unlike any other, as it should be.