Agroforestry the future of agriculture for our planet
Agroforestry is one of our main projects at Eco Caminhos. Our goal with this project is to grow a wide variety of edible plants, fruits, vegetables, and trees for wood. Agroforestry will also increase the biodiversity of the endemic ecosystem of the region. Also, agroforestry will increase the volume of water sources and protect the land against extreme weather events. Through agroforestry, Eco Caminhos wants to achieve self-sustainability in food and construction wood.
Creating a better planet
Transform degrated grasslands into abundand forrests
Prepare the next generation
We offer theoretical training
Pass on the knowledge
Eco Caminhos wants to become a knowledge center for agroforestry in the region. Once we start to generate reasonable income through selling abundance we want to convince our neighbors who practice conventional farming to change to Agroforestry. We want to achieve this through our coffee planted in our agroforestry systems. Special coffee is a high value product in the market that can easily be stored and sold over a longer period of time. Our microclimate is ideal for coffee and coffee in agroforestry systems has proven to produce the best coffee in the country. So together with all the fruits, vegetables, wood, coffee will provide us with a business concept that will convince the local farmers to tranform their monocultural crop into Agroforestry systems. Famers will be convinced by the improved financial conditions. Once farmers change into agroforestry it has proven to have positive impact on the farmers families lives. People live more conected to their farmlands and brings back the knowledge to the farmers. Currently, we already work with volunteers and apprentices who learn all the techniques and spread this knowledge in the word.
Our agroforestry history
We started our first agroforestry experiment in 2018. Today in 2023 we have planted 1.5 hectares of agroforestry. We still have 23 hectares available :). We expand only when we feel the area we implemented is well-taken care of and low maintenance. We have now implemented 5 agroforestry systems (SAF 1 -5). Our latest agroforestry system is much better than our first as we learn through training and observation. Mother nature is an incredible teacher if you have the patience to observe and see the reaction of our actions in the systems.
We have planted approximately 6000 trees and over 200 different species. We have 700 coffee trees planted in our agroforestry lines. We are currently harvesting over 16 types of vegetables on a daily basis, our first fruit trees like banana, citric, pintanga, peach, fig are starting to produce. In the next 2 years our fruit production will more than triple. We also produce our own milk, cheese, meat and eggs. 60% of all food already comes from our farm and we hope to reach 70% by the end of 2024.
How we implement agroforestry
When we expand we take a 20 x 20 meters plot of land and build a fence around the area so the cows cannot invade it. Then we initiate the process of plowing the top layer to add air and allow the roats to penetrate the soil. If the soil is acid we add some limestone powder. We than add some natural fertilizers like cow manure (nitrogenium), bone powder (phosphorus) and Yourin a type of mineral combination including rockpowder (Phosphurus, calcium, Magnesium, silicium and micronutrients). Then we make the beds, cover the beds with biomass, and plant pioneer plants such as banana trees, eucaliptus trees, cassava, momona, pigeon pea.
We also install an irrigation system required for the initial phase of the agroforestry system. Our field is located on the outer mountains of Nova Friburgo and will benefit from the steep terrain by using gravity for the irrigation system. This removes the need for water pumps and instead uses a drip system. This initial phase is very workable but also essential for the further process. About a year later we start to introduce our consortiums of trees with different combinations.
We have started to build our ecolibrium project which will contain a restaurant where we want to serve our own grown vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, and cheese.