Internships at Hill Top Farm, the Learning from Nature demonstration site, give you the know-how to get to the heart of permaculture design using 'eco-logical' approaches to regenerative farming and food gardening.
Your climate doesn't matter. Tools, techniques and species differ as we adapt the ecological principles to our growing conditions. Established regenerative practices become the source and inspiration for ideas, rather than recipes to follow.
Using this principles-based approach, the message quite simple - we need to bring back Nature's free ecological services to our gardens and farms.
These are the key ecological functions - nutrient cycles, water cycles, solar energy capture, and beneficial connections provided by functioning ecosystems. Organic matter, soil carbon, water infiltration, pollination, etc. are useful measures to track progress, but we need to get our ecosystems 'tuned up and running' again for these to improve!
While a small number of food growers worldwide benefit from using traditional practices maintaining functioning ecosystems, the majority of us are not so lucky. Substituting for the free ecological services functioning ecosystems provide by cultivating soil, applying synthetic and biological fertilisers, and pest controls have become the norm - virtually everybody does it! This interventionist approach defines current 'conventional agriculture', whether farmers use 'chemical' or 'organic' inputs.
Understanding what they can achieve and the benefits, growers can break this 'intervention habit', set their goals on getting their agroecosystems functioning again, trial techniques, learn, share experiences, and respond constructively to newly emerging issues and threats.