Perennial Development

Despite two decades of post-apartheid development in South Africa, poverty rates and economic inequality are on the rise. National rural development strategies primarily focus on implementation of annual crops for increased agricultural market access. Like the annual monocultural agriculture they promote, these strategies rely on extensive external inputs for short-term results with little commitment to broader system investment or health. The work of the LAND Project is truly an alternative approach to these conventional strategies, one which reconceptualizes development toward a more wholistic understanding of growth and health of a community. This approach to development work focuses on growing the resources or capacities within a community – the roots of the community – for intentional and enduring change. Fittingly, we term this approach “Perennial Development,” as it parallels the principles of perennial agriculture. We use the principles of perennial agriculture – growth from deep roots which sustains regeneration, diversity of plants which provides diverse ecosystem benefits, and interconnectedness between all elements of the agroecosystem – to guide the work of the LAND Project.

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