Here's an interesting article to read on Treehugger, http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/are-islam-and-permaculture-match-made-heaven.html. Further to a project ran in Jordan that managed to turn an arid, salty desert into fertile soil, a one hectare permaculture school farm and a 16 hectare permaculture college are now about to open.
Permaculture (originally referring to “permanent culture”) is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that are modelled on the relationships found in nature. It is based on the ecology of how things interrelate rather than on the strictly biological concerns that form the foundation of modern agriculture. Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that provide for human needs; it's a system of design where each element supports and feeds other elements, ultimately aiming at systems that are virtually self-sustaining and into which humans fit as an integral part.
According to the teacher running the project in Jordan, “permaculture could be a perfect antidote to the food crises facing the Middle East.”