Planteskolen Evigt Liv

Picture of a salad with variety

As he walked me around his farm in Denmark’s Central Zealand, I interviewed Adam to find out about what he does at Planteskolen Evigt Liv. He told me how he believes in doing things differently in order to contribute to a world where farming follows the cycles of nature, and mitigates the release of greenhouse gases, all the while enhancing the beauty of the landscape and the diversity of our diet. 

So, how did you get into permaculture in the first place?

I have a background as a trained historian, but when I graduated, I couldn’t get a job and the only thing I actually earned a little money from was selling edible plants. It was like a small side job. Then I thought to myself, I’m not working as a historian anyway because I can’t get into that field. 

When I was living in Copenhagen, I became interested in permaculture and in how to grow plants in a cold, temperate climate. I began to be nerdy about what was possible to grow. I asked myself: what’s the most sustainable way of growing? What’s the most tasty?

I ended up taking a Permaculture Design Certificate in Friland, and have been working actively to spread permacultural perspectives ever since. That’s also why I have this plant nursery, which specialises in edible plants for our climate, specifically perennials, berry bushes, and fruit trees. 

How would you explain permaculture to the layperson?

Permaculture is very well-known for being hard to explain! However the short way of explaining it is a system design, and system designs are based on the organic principles of holistic sustainability. The permacultural way of growing food imitates natural systems and aims to restore natural resources, making these systems become more and more productive each year. It does this through mutually positive interactions between the land, plants, animals and people.

That means that in a permaculture design, you should strive towards ending up with no waste and circulating all of the nutrients. When growing food, you work towards self-sustainability and self-reliance, you work with plants that benefit your microclimate, and you try to work more actively in accordance with natural processes. 

In nature, you have succession, which is the circle of nature – how a landscape evolves over time. And it’s not like going from A to B, it’s a cycle that starts with the forest. The woods we see around us are not real nature. They’re “Danish nature”. But they’re still symbols of nature, you could say, and the way they work is that instead of people fertilising them, they fertilise themselves. If mankind left, they would still be woods. That is, until a wildfire or something. Most of them would be proper forests if it weren’t for humans. 

If you have a mature forestthen, at some point, a wildfire, or big land animals, push over the trees. Or humans destroy an area. At that point, it goes down to zero, which is an open field with open soil. That’s what you could call the catastrophe stage, but it’s just a natural part of the process. It has its time and place.

Read the full article on Grønt Marked’s website.