One of the most sustainable land-use systems is the home garden. This form of agriculture is the oldest method of food production and has a number of positive impacts on the environment. It is highly productive, and the waste it generates is used to supplement the nutrients taken up by the deep-rooted trees. Among the many benefits of this method of farming, it is highly cost-effective. To learn more about home gardens, read on!
Despite its advantages, home gardens have some disadvantages as well. The low diversity of species in a home garden reduces its multifunctionality, and the home garden’s living store function. A home garden that is primarily based on economics is often commercialized, meaning that the species composition and harvest are controlled by the market and not the gardener. The resulting home garden is only useful if it is a profitable endeavor.
Home gardens have been a part of the Indonesian landscape for millennia. The growth of the Indonesian home garden initiative in five villages in the Dakcheung district should be replicated in other islands. The concept of home gardens is common throughout the world, but is distinct from agroforestry. In general, home gardens fall into two categories: promoted gardens and traditional gardens. The former cultivate plants without the help of outsiders, while the latter depend on external support.
The ecological functions of home gardens have been assumed and discussed only in passing. Moreover, the multistorey structure of home gardens has been linked to soil erosion. The relationship between soil erosion and canopy structure is complex. Soil erosion is also reduced. The study in Ethiopia also demonstrates the importance of soil quality. Moreover, it has a positive impact on the local economy. Agroforestry has many other benefits, so a home garden in the Philippines can help reduce poverty.
A home garden can provide a decent return on labor, as well. In Java, for instance, 7% of the population spends time tending to a home garden. This is a hugely important crop for nutrition, supplying around 44% of the national protein and 32% of carbohydrate intake. Additionally, the food produced in home gardens is cheap, compared to rice. The cost of production for home gardens accounts for ten percent of the local GDP, whereas the total net income in the island is 15%.
Increasing food production and food security requires multiple strategies. Which approaches are feasible depends on the local context, political climate, and resources available. Fortunately, home gardens in agroforestry are already common in many low-income and poor communities in developing countries. In fact, home gardens in developing countries have proven to be a viable means of food security. The concept has been embraced in various countries, including Peru, Ghana, and the Pacific Islands.
Aside from being useful for human consumption, these plants are also used for other purposes. Some of these include medicinal plants and handicrafts, while others are important for fuel, dyes, fragrances, shade, and livestock feed. Approximately one-third of the plants grown in home gardens in agroforestry systems are used for medicinal purposes. These diverse uses contribute to the sustainability of the whole system. However, the practice of monocropping practices is detrimental to the ecosystem.