Permaculture Tip of the Day – Regenerative Rice Fields


There are very few sustainable and regenerative farming methods in known recorded history that can be modeled after for long term food and water abundance. Thailand has been known to bear highly productive rice fields that have existed for over 5000 years. At first glance of the abundance it is easy to think “why don’t we just build rice fields everywhere and have an abundant sustainable farming practice”? This thinking without proper planning can lead to dried up fields and starvation such as cases in Hawaii where massive blocks of crops have been lost and people suffer from bad planning and poor decision making.
In order for a rice field to remain sustainable, an area of equal to or more than (preferably up to 8 times more) above the rice field must remain in tact as natural forest. When water that is used from uphill streams and rivers is used to flood the rice fields – it is the forest leaf litter, organic material, and the microbiology that comes with it that sustains the rice fields. If we clear the forest above the rice fields – about 3 years of production is left on those fields before they no longer produce sustainably and organically. Chemical fertilizers then have to be brought in which end up salting those fields and the subsequent fields and soils downstream
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