Plant biologist Ken Thompson raised eyebrows recently when he declared that permaculture doesn't work. He argued that the most well known expression of permaculture design—the forest garden—limits our potential diet to fruit and nuts and little else. But as I argued at the time, he's missing the point. Forest gardens are just one approach to permaculture, and Permaculture Magazine has a great piece on how many traditional farms are applying permaculture principles to modify their businesses:
Pioneering projects demonstrate the value of using a permaculture design approach. Designing to ensure each element has multiple functions, soil management that is wedded to minimal tillage, working to engage the local community and expansion of woodland for biodiversity is dormant and even nonsensical in today's world of profit driven commercial agricultural systems. Tomorrow's world, which will see the increasing rise in oil and ultimately food prices, will bring about fierce changes and make our current fossil fuel based practises uneconomic.
Head over to Permaculture Magazine for some specific examples of farms using permaculture to survive.