In 2014, Hilaine, Bart, Roger, Nico and Lucas Bijen came to Brazil with a vision to create the Eco Caminhos self-sustainable farm. Today, the farm is fully self-sustaining in energy, produces 60% of its own food including vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, eggs and has planted over 8000 trees. Eco Caminhos has built three houses, a multifunctional toolshed and a Cow corral following the bioconstruction method. Further the Eco Caminhos team has implemented a 1 hectare of coffee in agroforestry systems as a pilot to proof profitability, technical and feasibility.
Eco Caminhos receives yearly people from Brazil and across the globe to learn about these different techniques. The farm is already financially self-sustaining. Eco Caminhos is aiming to make the knowledge built up in the farm available to a broader target group through their Ecolibrium Permaculture School project which is currently being constructed.
Our planet is currently facing a multitude of environmental crises, including climate change accompanied with extreme weather events, pollution of land and water and depletion of resources. We believe that the world needs to embrace self-sustainable forms of living, where we produce an abundance of food, energy, and live in harmony with nature. This belief is widely shared across the world however we feel there is too little action. At Eco Caminhos we take action and have been gathering knowledge to contribute to achieving this self-sustaining way of living. We now want to share this knowledge with the community by offering high-quality and intensive long-term training both in theory as well as in practice to those who can and cannot afford it. In Brazil, there are only a few courses available to learn about sustainable techniques, and these courses are expensive and often only provide people with a theoretical glimpse of the subject.
To convince monoculture farmers to switch to agroforestry, it is important to show that these environmentally friendly production methods can generate a good income. A successful profitable product as an example is necessary for this. The cultivation of coffee in agroforestry is such an example and specifically interesting for the climate where the farm is located. Coffee is already showing its potential in Brazil and beyond. Therefore, coffee will play an important role in our practical education at the Eco Caminhos farm as the climate in the region of the farm is ideal for coffee cultivation.
An impression of the future of Ecolibrium, by Daniel Balcazar creative artist 2019.
Eco Caminhos aims to become the school for Permaculture, Agroforestry, and Bioconstruction in Brazil. We will teach these techniques to children, teenagers, students, builders, farmers, and international apprentices through both theoretical and practical means. Starting locally, we plan to expand our activities regionally, nationally, and internationally by training other organizations around the world. Our experience in implementing these techniques successfully over the past nine years has helped us build the necessary knowledge. Through our educational center we will see a transformation in the region towards more sustainable agriculture and construction, thanks to our efforts aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)