The Haitian recovery will have to be down to earth, literally. Local food production is invaluable in a country where people struggle to feed themselves. According to an interview on the Wired Web site with Australian permaculture expert Geoff Hanson, the techniques of permaculture can greatly help to rehabilitate the landscape and provide sustainable livelihoods for both urban and rural dwellers there.
Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.
Permaculture's practical development in modern times is credited to Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer on his own farm in the early 1960s and then theoretically developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and their associates during the 1970s in a series of publications. The word permaculture is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture, as well as permanent culture. Geoff Hanson is with the Australian Permaculture Research Institute.
According to Hanson, permaculture projects can help "through a holistic design approach that integrates people's ability, ingenuity and skill sets with the available resources that are lcoally understood. Integrating local people's skills together with local resources can increase community members' sense of reliance, have a unifying effect on the community, and empower local people to provide for their own needs, with the minimum amount of assistance from the outside world."
The full interview is available on the Wired Web site.