There are large regions in China where farmers have grown food on the same land for more than 6,000 years. Over that time, several hundred generations of farmers developed a highly efficient, highly productive, sustainable agricultural methods, passed on by common custom and recorded using written language.
Although traditional Chinese agriculture is perhaps the most sophisticated form of permaculture ever developed, the details of traditional Chinese permaculture aren’t studied, discussed or practiced in the West. They are virtually absent in the literature used by Western permaculture practitioners.
Can we do even better? Today we have access to some information and technology that might allow a new better version of Chinese permaculture. We have plastic for waterproofing and better storage and sanitation. We have pipes for water transport that would make manual irrigation less labor-intensive. We have scientific knowledge that that is new. Traditional Chinese permaculture, aided by modern materials, transport, and scientific knowledge, could create permaculture that is more sustainable and more humane than any that has come before.
Read Chinese Permaculture: 6,000 Years of Lessons Learned by Earle Barnhart for more information.