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What are Farm Systems?

Many land management systems have been independently developed to solve local difficulties then expanded to address wider industry needs. Many deal with land management, many deal with production of low toxicity food.

They all have considerable overlap in processes and philosophy. All boost soil micro-life and increase soil fertility. They have much in common but approach the centre from different angles.

In line with Permaculture Design systems, Designer Acres takes a somewhat eclectic approach and uses parts of each. We do acknowledge the sincerity and hard work of the developers of each system. It takes courage and perseverance to change the face of agriculture.

Some of these systems are:

  • Biodynamics
  • Biological Agriculture
  • Korean Natural Farming (JADAM)
  • Natural Sequence Farming
  • Organic Farming
  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • Syntropic Agriculture
  • Traditional Agriculture

Each has a different primary goal so the amalgam is most useful.

Table of Contents


In day to day practice the goal is to create a farm system that is minimally dependent on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself. It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm’s capacity for self renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable.

Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. Biodynamics is rooted in the work of philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner, whose 1924 lectures to farmers opened a new way to integrate scientific understanding with a recognition of spirit in nature.

Steiner, R. 1993. Agriculture: Spiritual Foundations for Renewal of Agriculture. Biodynamic Association.

Biological Agriculture​

As the name implies, the primary concern of Biological Agriculture is to increase the number and health of the soil flora and fauna as a basis for farm production. Happy soil, happy farm.

“Biological farming works on the principle of balancing all soil parameters with the aim of developing a self -regulating system. The soil is at the heart of biological farming and when the soil’s chemical, physical and microbiological properties are in balance a productive system can be achieved.”

Dr. Catherine J Harvey

Korean Natural Farming (JADAM)

Korean Natural Farming is best known for its treatment of soil micro-organisms and cloning life in soils. It differs from Synergistic Design in that it uses poisonous substances for pest control. Synergistic Design increases plant health to make the plant immune to pests and disease and so does not endanger beneficial lifeforms..

Korean Natural Farming came up with a unique solution of “ultra-low cost” method of farming as an answer to the future of agriculture. Based on the technical aims of SESE (Simple, Easy, Scientific, Effective), JADAM established a complete system of farming after decades of trials.

Koran Natural Farming

Holistic Management

Alan Savory developed Holistic Management after noticing that set stocking destroyed pasture, but the much larger herds of native herbivores were sustainable. He reasoned that because the disturbance was of short duration, the damage was minimal and the soil / pasture regenerated rapidly.

He recommends mob grazing to eat 1/3, trample 1/3 and leave 1/3 of the pasture. The soil is disturbed enabling better access to water and air and to capture air and water borne seeds in an environment conducive to good germination and growth.

This was somewhat contentious because he easily proved his theory by trials in desert Zimbabwe which upset the mores of traditional grazing practices.

Done properly, mob grazing works.

Holistic Management uses a decision-making process to help ensure that the actions taken to restore land and livelihoods are ecologically, socially and economically sound based on the context described by the people involved. In two-thirds of the world that is grasslands, much of the land regeneration involves the use of livestock, which are managed to mimic the behaviors of ancient wild herds in a manner that heals degraded soils, improves ecosystem function, and builds biodiversity.

Alan Savory – Holistic Management

Natural Sequence Farming

Natural Sequence Farming is a rehydration system developed at by Peter and Stuart Andrews at Maloone Creek Natural Farms, Bungendore near Canberra.

Like all good systems, it is simple and effective. It rehydrates soil water storage reserves and manages gully erosion. During the last drought, Maloone Creek brought no inflow to the farm but supplied a normal outflow.

The processes of Natural Sequence Farming are key to our water management and erosion control.

Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative Agriculture seeks to rehabilitate the farm ecosystem by using processes that are proven to work by nature.  This is bio-mimicry and it works. It pays great attention to soil health and water management.

Key to the process is the diversity of plant and animal species that use the land and how they use the land.

The regenerative farming approach focuses on restoring soils that have been degraded by the industrial, agricultural system. Its methods promote healthier ecosystems by rebuilding soil organic matter through holistic farming and grazing techniques. In short, regenerative agriculture practitioners let nature do the work.

AFN News

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