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 than we found
Transform grasslands into 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 to generate more income through selling healthier, better quality products while preserving and improving the natural environment. Currently, we already work with volunteers and apprentices who learn all the techniques and spread the word.
Our young agroforestry history
We started our first agroforestry experiment in 2018. Today in 2020 we have planted 1 hectare 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. Israel Serrano is our agroforestry specialist with over 12 years of experience implementing agroforestry systems. Since his arrival in early 2020, our agroforestry has been expanding at a rapid pace. We currently work with 6 – 12 people at the farm on daily basis.
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, making beds, cover the beds with biomass, and plant pioneer plants such as banana trees, cassava, yams, sweet potatoes and in between the beds we plant all kinds of natural biofertilizers such as black oats, crotalaria, mumbaça grass, or Mexican sunflower.
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.
Our first results
Our first agroforestry experiment now has trees of already 5 – 6 meters high. We have already pruned the trees several times. The soil biodiversity went from dry hard soil with almost zero to a very loose rich biodiverse soil that is alive. We have planted over 500 different fruit trees, 50 trees for wood production, 50 coffee trees, and 30 palm trees. We have also planted special trees for water source protection. We have recently finished our chicken coop. The chickens have a separate area in the agroforestry system where they can graze freely in a rotation system. While chickens eat, plow, and leave manure in one area we plant biofertilizer and natural food in the next area.
In the near future, we want to start our ecolibrium project with a restaurant where we want to serve our own grown vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, and cheese.