Farming for Health Podcast #33: Amanda Harris

Farming for Health Podcast #33: Amanda Harris

In our final episode of Farming for Health, permaculture designer and teacher Amanda Harris shares her experiences and philosophies with listeners—with her story starting several years ago. At that time, Amanda was already applying permaculture principles in Nepal (where she was staying with families), but she didn’t yet have a name for what she was doing. 

Amanda then earned a permaculture design certification in 2013 at the Mesoamerican Institute of Permaculture in Guatemala. She also earned dual masters degrees in global environmental policies from American University in Washington, D.C. and in national resource management and sustainable development from the United Nations-mandated Universidad para la Paz in San Jose, Costa Rica in 2015. 

Nowadays, she promotes regenerative agricultural businesses in microsheds in Mexico by applying permaculture (or permanent agriculture) principles—which she defines as a blend of modern science, technology, and resources with traditional knowledge that can get lost over the generations. This could include weaving palms or planting the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash) in ways that use the best of today’s knowledge with the traditions of yesteryear.

The result? A regenerative, resilient, adaptive production system. 

Here’s what else needs to be woven into permaculture: the invisible structures of social and economic elements of a region. It’s crucial to know, for example, who the players are in a community. The goal is then to empower local communities to solve their own problems through a combination of transferred knowledge and skills with resources and leadership training. 

Amanda is the permaculture manager for Playa Viva hotel in Mexico. There, the hotel is surrounded by large amounts of farmland where principles of the permaculture philosophy are leveraged in all the choices they make. Function stacking is an important principle as they use elements that serve multiple functions and consider generations of the future with each action they take. They look to close system loops with an eye on longevity. 

Amanda shared some of her insights about Playa Viva at Roots Conference 2023 in a panel discussion titled “A Sustainable Future for Food: Exploring Farm to Table.”

You can also discover how Amanda uses these principles in her own life and more in the last of our thirty-three long series Farming for Health: Permaculture, Regenerative Tourism, and Regionality

Past Episodes of our Farming for Health Podcast

If you’ve missed any of our previous episodes, you can find them here:

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