Changes which require expenditure, like tree planting and pond digging, can be com-
bined with those that save money in the short-term, like reducing mechanisation and chem-
ical use. Grants may also be available for many of the changes.
The grant system is a complicated maze with many over-lapping schemes run by Defra,
the Forestry Commission, local authorities, the EC and others, and what is available is con-
stantly changing. It is always worth checking to see what is on offer.
Overall, the changeover can be flexible. Permaculture is not a rigid system which you
either do a hundred percent or not at all. Although a permaculture design always treats the
farm as a whole, it is not necessarily appropriate that every single permaculture idea be
applied to that farm. Some fields may be more suitable for a no-till system than others, or
some aspects of permaculture may appeal to the farmer more than others. The aim is to
help people farm and live more harmoniously, not to impose a set of rules on them.
Can city-dwellers get the same benefits from permaculture?
Yes. Food links benefit consumers just as much as farmers. Projects which involve getting
a critical mass of people together, such as communal gardening, can actually be easier in
the city as there is a greater concentration of people. There is more opportunity to grow
food in the city than first meets the eye. Even a small back yard and a few window sills can
produce quantities of food that would astonish anyone who did not know the potential of
Allotments are available in many areas. In fact, the problem at the moment is often one
of persuading the local council not to sell off unused allotment land, rather than finding a
vacant plot. City farms come in all shapes and sizes, though they are usually more of a size
to give urban people a taste of working with crops and animals as much as for significant
food production. But some city farms are beginning to make links with larger areas of land
in the country.
There is also a lot of unused land. Many people make little use of their gardens and
would be only too pleased to have a neighbour do so, perhaps in return for a small share
of the produce. Local authorities, utilities and many other bodies or individuals frequently