A new understanding of the relationship between agriculture and ecology will give the students new clues to design in the vernacular landscape of La Camargue in France. Landscape as a product of labor, limiting factors and potential based in regenerative agriculture, will guide the students to design rule-based proposals based in new complex associations.
With a long-term vision of reducing the negative environmental and health impacts of current agricultural practices, activists such as Rachel Carson, and agronomists such as Albert Howards, E. Pfeiffer and Masanobu Fukuoka established decades ago the conceptual and practical frameworks for regenerative agriculture. Their combined efforts were a reaction to the negative effects of increasingly industrialized agricultural practices. These works catalyzed what has since become a bottom-up revolution in the way we produce food. Farmers, activists, and private institutions have developed new and often experimental techniques that understand soil as a living resource requiring holistic management. These initial experiments have developed into the fields of natural agriculture, permaculture, biodynamic agriculture, agro-ecology, and regenerative agriculture that applied at a large scale could totally transform the landscape around us.
Alongside the development of these sophisticated and innovative techniques, there has been a growing body of work recognizing the potential of atmospheric carbon sequestration in a regenerated living soil. Capturing carbon from the atmosphere in a healthy soil would address two major challenges: new potentials for agriculture and climate change. This solution takes place in the rhizosphere.
Understanding the rhizosphere as a critical space for design is in our interest as landscape architects: there is a profound opportunity to work with the potential of this media in a way that is specific to the climatic and geological conditions of any particular site. As designers working directly with the land, we cannot avoid this evolving paradigm: we must integrate this new knowledge, practices and technologies into our proposals, and understand it as a precious resource at the base of our interventions in constructed environments.
Teresa Gali Izard, Instructor