Inside the Ensete Garden, Beyond the Plantation Perennial Polycultures for Radically Sustainable Food Systems



Published Jun 28, 2021


Against a backdrop of increasingly simplified ecologies—in the form of plantation and monocultural thinking—this article elaborates a call to radical change in sustainable food systems as being fostered by multispecies assemblages and rooted in a less anthropocentric vision of farming practices and the natural environment. Multiplicity in practice (and as a philosophical guiding principle in the quest for sustainable food systems) is analyzed through the lens of edible perennials and the functional role they play in specific integrated farming systems. The analysis starts from the case study of a perennial root tuber crop in Southwestern Ethiopia, and further expands into the related ramifications of home gardening, polycultural farming, multistoried landscapes, and integrated agriculture. This multilayered story then branches out from the Ethiopian home garden to touch upon the broader category of improved agroforestry practices, which are based on solid and ecologically sound perennial components. It is argued that multifunctional mosaics hold untapped potential to address the call for sustainable food systems in times of profound socio-natural crisis. A bold paradigm shift sustains this vision—from plantations back to forest-like intricacies.

How to Cite

PEVERI, V. (2021) “Inside the Ensete Garden, Beyond the Plantation: Perennial Polycultures for Radically Sustainable Food Systems”, The International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Paris, France, 27(1), pp. 141–159. doi: 10.48416/ijsaf.v27i1.85.
Abstract 567 | PDF Downloads 525