Padma and Narsanna Koppula have turned a barren piece of land in India’s Medak district into a food forest by engaging the community that lives around it.

Narsanna and Padma have been pursuing permaculture for several years now. According to them, permaculture is pro-nature and pro-people. The word ’permaculture’ is derived from PERMAnent agriCULTURE or PERMAnent CULTURE, and is based on responsible and wise use of natural resources, working with natural processes.

As Narsanna says, “What we focus on through conventional farming system in India and various other countries are a few crops, which are market-driven. We need to change this and permaculture is the best guide to do so. Permaculture doesn’t allow growing single crops, but stresses on growing a variety of crops in harmony with other tree species, animals and humans.”

Permaculture is especially relevant to India due to the pressure on water resources, deteriorating soil, diminishing biodiversity, and the huge debt burden on farmers who follow modern agrarian practices built on hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilisers bought from the market, rather than traditional practices looking at natural, locally available inputs and saving seed from previous harvests.