Permaculture a solution to improving environmental health & alleviating food insecurity in Malawi


After graduating from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in December 2011,  Catherine moved to Malawi to work at the Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology.

From an environmental perspective, we often look at permaculture as a holistic agricultural method that takes care of all elements of the land.  This means that practitioners of permaculture go beyond taking care of the land solely for temporary food production. They ensure responsible and sustainable waste management, energy use, and green building in the area. In Catherine’s article, she and her co-author, nutritionist Jo Lewin make the case for permaculture as a solution to not only improving environmental health but also for alleviating food insecurity in Malawi. And it makes sense.

By implementing a practice such as permaculture, the people of Malawi can benefit from a more steady and permanent food supply. Because of its focus on the long-term health of the land by mimicking the natural ecosystem, current practitioners of this method have seen not only observed increased available food during the normal growing months, they have access to food during the “hungry months” as well.  What’s more, the economic barrier to adopting this practice is low due to seed saving and the extraneous need for outside inputs.

With a strong link between implementing permaculture and ensuring food security in Malawi, how can we use this example to increase the prevalence of this technique in communities around the world?

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