Conventional gardening generally uses a single method for growing food. The focus is on what the gardener wants to grow, rather than which plants best suit a particular piece of land.
“Monocultures can be managed efficiently, but they are anything but sustainable,” concludes a study by the University of Zurich.
In 2014, the research team at the University of Zurich came to the conclusion that plants in combination with other plants produce higher yields than monocultures.
When permaculture systems are designed well, they are intrinsically sustainable and much easier to care for (especially over time). Permaculture gardens create true ecosystems that have built-in mechanisms to constantly revitalize the earth, keeping the plants healthier. Healthy plants are more resistant to disease and pests, which minimizes labour for upkeep.
Permaculture was originally a sustainable concept for agriculture and horticulture, which is based on closely observing and imitating natural ecosystems and cycles in nature. In order to create independent, resilient and fairly distributed living spaces, permaculture proposes pragmatic methodological principles based on scientific ecology, traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, observation and experimentation.
But is this a new concept from the last century? No. We found out that “Milpa” is an agricultural system that has been operated by the Maya in Central America for many centuries until today; Mainly maize, beans and pumpkins are grown, which form a symbiosis. The maize serves as a climbing aid for the beans, the beans in turn supply the maize with nitrogen, while the large leaves of the pumpkin cover the ground, thus preventing erosion through rain and dehydration. Thus, each plant uses its own purpose and at the same time supports in symbiosis with others that everyone can achieve peak performance together.
In the industrial age, we transferred the method of monoculture to people. Decades later, we are reaping the benefits of one-sided use of resources. Exhausted people who are spurred on to achieve maximum performance with extrinsic interventions. The fruits we reap: lack of loyalty, burn-out, inner dismissal, lack of purpose, lack of initiative and networked thinking.
Still, many HR processes and leadership principles are designed for the industrial age. But aren’t we living already in the age of the knowledge society - permaculture? Our society has forgotten existing knowledge from thousands of years ago, has not preserved it and has not passed it on, so we have built our concepts on the understanding of monoculture. The Power of mixed Teams is therefore not a new concept that has become fashionable again through diversity management, but a millennia-old knowledge that we were not aware of. Till today.
What do we want and expect from our employees? Fertility? Engagement? Think outside the box? I expect my employees to start living their uniqueness, to find their place in the system and to bear fruit. What do employees need for this? Certainly not carrot and stick.
Let’s look back to permaculture gardening and learn from there.
… which is based on closely observing…
… using the right plants for the climate…
… they are intrinsically sustainable and much easier to care for…
Healthy plants are more resistant to disease and pests, which minimizes labour for upkeep.
Happy and healthy people are more resistant to diseases and pests, which minimizes the maintenance work. The latest studies in natural science is making it very clear: Epigenetic. We always thought that twins will develop in the same way because of their same genes. Two identically twins brought up in different environment develop different – also in their genes. Shocking? No. These are great news. It’s in the hand of the gardener what kind of fruit the plant will bear.