What is it and how can we do it as part of a balanced system?
In these times of global uncertainty and transition, where the globalised food system has become halted or reduced1, there is a wonderful opportunity to begin practicing food sovereignty on a personal basis2. This seems to be being put into practice in many places as growing one’s own food becomes more popular around the world3.
Being able to harvest and consume something which you have cultivated in the soil can be a very satisfying experience, from a practical point of view, as well as looking at it from the perspective of spiritual and mental well-being4. We can be seen as directly participating in the cycles of nature when we care for plants, especially if we choose to do so without the use of chemicals. Yet what if the beautiful vegetables we have so lovingly brought up are threatened by other creatures who also find them delicious to eat?
Permaculture practitioners have an answer to this: to intentionally include elements (whether plants or animals) in your garden which provides predators for those animals who would otherwise make your crop their prey. This technique, known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM)6, can be exercised in a number of ways, and there appear to be some important factors to remember when applying it with your crops, in order for it to be successful. This article will explore how IPM works, and how we can use it as part of a holistic design, while part 2 will give some practical examples to help with your own pest management on any scale; whether you are planting a few herbs on your balcony or have a large piece of land.
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