One of the things that has interested me for a while is how far is it possible to move to a more permaculture orientated approach which minimizes the impact on the environment while making use of perennial plants which deliver a higher yield than annual plants since they don’t have to start from scratch every year.
Most of the theory about permaculture as it is generally practised today originates from Australia and is aimed at semi arid conditions. Consequently its application in the UK might need a bit of adjusting. However a more usable template might be found a bit closer to home.
Turkey, for instance still retains enough examples of its existing traditional agriculture (in parallel;with some massive industrialised areas) that we can get a feel of what I might look like in at least a Mediterranean context.
Here are some photos taken on a recent trip which illustrates some of the points. Basically they have groves of olive and citrus tress which either support grass for a hay crop or for grazing stock or for shading vegetables. For a good chunk of the year the sun is too hot / daylight too intense for effective growth of leafy vegetables. Planting these vegetables in the shade of the fruit crops allows this difficulty to be overcome – in parallel with channel and earth dam mediated irrigation.
The issue of proving some shade has led to the development of an unusual technique of planting a shelter belt of very thin, tall and lightly leaved poplars at a couple of foot spacing all the way round the outside of plots on the high plateaus such as between Antalya and Fethiye. These are also used for timber by thinning out alternate trees as required.
I would be very interested if anyone has any other examples that might be interesting.