I receive John Robb’s newsletter on resilient communities regularly and he had a wonderful bit about the Chinese Wheelbarrow and its superiority to the European wheelbarrow. It comes at a time I was also thinking heavily about terracing and how to best modify the land for maximum productivity.
I would love to be able to put in a very narrow road, running behind the terraces, perfect for such a wheelbarrow, perhaps pulled by a donkey or large goat. I think it would be a perfect device for the periodic harvesting of a food forest.
I drew some fictitious terrain to illustrate how a piece of ground can be modified. With the addition of swales (red lines) and small ponds based on key lines, small roads appropriate for 4-wheelers or donkey carts and lots of edge transition between mature forest (dark green) edge forest such as fruit and nut trees (med-green) and open land pasture/crop/food prairie (light green) a piece of land can maximize the inputs and re-use and re-use the outputs to completely maximize yield. I think the Chinese Wheelbarrow is a sustainable tool that will have a place in our homeplace.
Low Tech Magazine article