Here in Peru (and numerous other Latin American countries), you won’t find very many supermarkets when going out to get groceries. This is because these areas are dominated by an agrarian lifestyle.
What does that mean?
This means the unlike countries such as the United States, Australia, the UK (etc.), a large percentage of people here depend on farming practices to sustain themselves for either personal consumption or selling for profit in community food markets.
Unfortunately, the increasing demand for various crops has led to mass production and unsustainable practices, significantly impacting the well-being and overall existence of the Amazon Rainforest.
Every year, thousands of hectares of rainforest are cleared and set on fire to make way for agriculture and cattle ranching. This slash-and-burn technique of clearing land is an outdated method that destroys the habitats of countless organisms, releases overwhelming amounts of CO2 back into our atmosphere, and even puts our own safety at risk.
Note: Environmental destruction from mass food production is occurring globally, not just in Peru—but for the sake of our cause and where we’re located, we’ll be talking specifically about the Amazon Basin and what we’ve encountered.
What is a Food Forest?
There are numerous descriptions on what defines a Food Forest, each one slightly differing from another. What do we consider a food forest?
A food forest is a system designed to contain essential components of a natural forest environment in addition to producing edible foodstuffs benefitting both ourselves and wildlife.
What does a natural forest environment look like? [insert rainforest photo here]
A food forest is designed to mimic these characteristics. [show agroforest photo]
Native plants of the region are intentionally integrated into the food forest system—after all, they grow best in their natural habitat!
By promoting the growth of these native plants, you also promote wildlife activity in your agro-ecosystem. This is a GOOD thing. A true food forest is meant to have creatures continuously interacting within the area.
If this makes you skeptical, ask yourself “Does a healthy forest exist without the presence of animals?”
Most importantly, a food forest is a self-sustaining agro-ecosystem. Once properly established, a food forest is capable of thriving on its own without daily maintenance or application of synthetic chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers etc). Everything within the plot should be strategically designed to support each other.
A Summary of the Benefits:
- A space for you to grow food, saving you some money on groceries
- A forest promotes both plant and animal diversity
- Self-sustaining–>using natural forest dynamics to maintain the health of the plot
- Chemical-free food products—>knowing exactly what is going into the production of your plants
Can Food Forests Save the Amazon (& the planet)?
- Pristine areas weren’t replaced with fields of chemical-ridden monocultures?
- Native wildlife continued to thrive in the areas where our food was produced?
- Forested food plots sequestered enough carbon worldwide to combat greenhouse gases contributing to climate change?
If, if, if.
Here’s the thing—> IF isn’t the question—the concept of “if” shouldn’t even be debated…
We CAN keepour natural forests while continuing to enjoy delicious home-grown foods,
We CAN reduce our Carbon Footprint
And we absolutely CAN save this planet.
But even when people buy into this idea, the most difficult part for most us, is the HOW.
Too many people truly want to help, they just don’t know where to start!
Knowing where to begin is can be challenging, and you find yourself lacking the resources and support to power through.
Let us be that support—that’s why we are here.
Food Forests & Rainforest Protection
A crucial part of rainforest protection here in the Peruvian Amazon involves knowing how to grow and harvest food in a way that doesn’t contribute to mass deforestation (or overall harm to the surrounding environment). We chose to establish a food forest several years ago to sustainably harvest our own food which supports ourselves and the surrounding forest organisms.
Our ultimate goal has been to create a multi-layered system that can serve as a model for our local community members to observe, learn, and successfully implement.
This is not limited to local community members—we receive passionate individuals motivated to learn about food forestry from different parts of the world!
At surface-level, those you can visit us to acquire skills in growing a food forest.
But on a greater level, you’re contributing to so much more.
When you work with us, you are helping us save countless hectares of virgin rainforest by engaging in a system that enables us to produce crops year after year on the same soil without ever having to annually clear new areas of jungle for future planting seasons.
You have the power to make a difference in the world.
Learn how to Grow edible crops, support wildlife populations, reduce deforestation, and protect the Amazon Rainforest.