Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Search for Research

A common and very reasonable complaint I hear of Agroecology (and by Agroecology I mean all the different brands and labels associated with this i.e biodynamics, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, regrarian, sustainable farming etc) is that there is a lack of research and experimental data to support the claims made by its proponents. There is, in fact, quite a lot of research undertaken regarding agroecological systems (see below) however it has not been disseminated effectively and is relatively difficult to access.  I have not been able to find any research relevant to small scale that addresses the simplest of issues.  I have been looking for answers to what I consider to be very simple questions, such as how productive is a four species annual guild in direct comparison to growing the same 4 species separately in the same amount of space with the same nutrient and water inputs. I decided this year to embark upon some self directed research, my modest efforts focusing on recording the inputs and outputs for an annual herb and vegetable guild (click here for an overview of this garden) and comparing this with available data from conventional practices. You can view the results here.

The Permaculture Association have taken the lead on promoting research for permaculture and have a dedicated section on their website,  their aim being to "build a strong evidence base for permaculture and improve permaculture practice". They have created a great booklet for anyone wishing to undertake their own research. Its very easy to read and purposefully designed to be accessible to everyone. Click here to view.

They have also launched the Permaculture Association's international soil tests a test that started in the UK last year and has now been extended to the international community. We are taking part in this.

     If you are looking for peer reviewed research relevant to Agroecology,  you will find much of interest from the below journals some of which are open access and available to everyone. 
  • Agronomy for Sustainable Development  Click here for a list of open access papers
  • Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (formerly Journal of Sustainable Agriculture)
  • Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Agroforestry Systems
  • Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
  • Agriculture and Human Values
  • Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
 from Rafter Sass Ferguson's Blog - Liberation Ecology

Agroforestry Research Trust  publish an excellent quarterly journal. I highly recommend subscription to this journal as essential reading for all who are interested in temperate tree crops and agroforestry.

The The European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF) aims at promoting the use of trees on farms as well as any kind of silvopastoralism throughout the different environmental regions of Europe. EURAF publish an excellent book of abstracts on their website.

Links related to Research

If you know of any other good research resources please add a comment below.

Upcoming Forest Garden Courses 

If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands-on experience come and join us for our Design and Build a Forest Garden Course. We'll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers, and wildlife ponds. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.

Design and Build - Forest Garden Course  - Regenerative Landscape Design Course

Registration for our course is now open with a 15% discount on accommodation and food fees when you register as a group (2 or more). You can also take advantage of early booking discounts if you book 3 months before the course starts.


Please Consider Supporting Our Efforts 

Our project grows with our desire to provide better quality information. Our overheads and demands on our time also grow along with our development and this presents a challenge for us to maintain the project and activities. We do not receive any government, institutional or NGO funding for our project and rely on revenue from sales of our courses, plants, consultancy, and design work along with the support of our amazing volunteers to develop and manage the gardens and are very grateful for this. So please consider joining us for a course or event, purchasing products and services from our online store or plants from our bio nursery, participating in our online educational platforms and support the project while we support you. Feeling super generous today? You can also support us directly with a one-time donation or become a sponsor of our project providing monthly support. With your support, we will continue to improve on producing quality information and data for the community, building a world-class demonstration landscape and progress on our mission to develop and promote practices that can produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.


We also accept donations via bank transfer in USD - EURO - GBP - AUD - NZD  - (please email for account details) and via peer to peer distributed ledger - BTC - ETH

If you are not in a financial position to purchase our products and services or donate please comment, like and share our work. This helps us to spread our work further afield and is much appreciated.


Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course 

If you would like to learn how to design, build and manage regenerative landscapes we'll be running our Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course that starts on May 4th, 2022. 

We're super excited about running the course and look forward to providing you with the confidence, inspiration, and opportunity to design, build and manage regenerative landscapes, gardens, and farms that produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.

Regenerative Landscape Design Online Course

You can find out all about the course here and right now we have a 20% discount on the full enrollment fees. Just use the promo code RLD2022 in the section of the registration form to receive your discount. 

We are looking forward to providing you with this unique online learning experience - as far as we know, the very first of its kind. If you are thinking of reasons why you should do this course and whether this course is suitable for you, take a look here where we lay it all out. Looking forward to it!

We offer a diversity of plants and seeds for permaculture, forest gardens and regenerative landscapes including a range of fruit and nut cultivars. We Deliver all over Europe from Nov - March. - Give a happy plant a happy home :)

Our Bio-Nursery - Permaculture/Polyculture/ Regenerative Landscape Plants 


Design and Create Webinars - Forest Gardens, Urban Gardens, Permaculture, Regenerative Farming   

We're hosting a range of online learning sessions including how to create habitat to enhance biodiversity, how to design and build a forest garden, polyculture design software tutorials, regenerative farm, and landscape design, urban gardening and much more. If you would like to be notified when our next sessions are coming up please add your email below and hit subscribe and we'll be in touch.

You can also register for our online training, services, and products directly here.


If you appreciate the work we are doing you can show your support in several ways.

  • Comment, like and share our content on social media.