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Permaculture presentation in Spanish

For our Spanish speaking visitors we have published a presentation about what Permaculture is. Maybe ill find some time to translate it to English … one day 🙂

¿Qué es Permacultura?
Mesa medio ambiente, Valle de las luciernagas, Zamora Chinchipe, Amazonas, Ecuador

Adaptive Keyline and Erosion Control with Vetiver grass and Arachis Pintoi

Tropical Permaculture

Here we have a A-typical climate at PermaTree at the edge of the amazonas region in Ecuador. Most of the year too much rain. Too much water. Lots of issue with erosion and high difficulty of access with very steep hills.

Access path with Vetiver and Arachis Pintoi

So to improve this we have implemented something like access path in conjunction with vetiver grass on the falling hill side and additionally been planting Arachis Pintoi to first or foremost cover the soil.

With our very humid climate, swales make no sense. So here its not about the classic water harvesting.
Our focus at PermaTree in the amazonas region is clearly about:

  • Slowing down the water flow (lots and lots of tropical rainfall)
  • Reducing erosion on a micro and macro level
  • Enabling better manual access to the crops (Soursop fruit can get up to 15kg in weight!)
  • Improving the soil quality with nitrogen fixing plants like Arachis Pintoi and Vetiver grass

Adaptive Keyline

To be honest ideally we should of have build first the access path on contour lines  and then plant the crops also on contour. But hey we are learning on the hard way here 🙂

This is why we call this “Adaptive Keyline”.

Using contour plantings such as vetiver grass to hold soil on steep hillsides with crops integrated between rows of contours.

As you can see on the image we have two keyline point / water holes which flow into a pond to store the water. Along this creek we have planted lots of bamboo to again slow down the water flow and increase soil quality with the bamboo root system and bamboo leafs which are a great source of nitrogen.

Also you can see the very green spot – there we initially planted the Achai Pintoi – its so green because it has already spread very well there. on the left side you side that it is still growing and needs some more time to get to the same level of green. On the left side you can see there is no Achai Pintoi yet so we will need to transplant it there too within the next rainy season.

If you look closely you can see where the excess water from the saddle dam is traveling down into the valley towards the pond where the grass is greener and vetiver grasses have been planted. Currently its summer so we cant do any transplanting.

 

Video Adaptive Keyline and Access path

 

Contour Hedgerows

Example of a hill with slope also using Contour Hedgerows. Using contour plantings such as vetiver grass to hold soil on steep hillsides with crops integrated between rows of contours.

 

Vetiver

Vetiver grass = Vetiver is native to India and is one of the best management practices to control erosion. This non-fertile, non-invasive perennial grass as a dense web of roots that binds soil and penetrates vertically to 15 meters.

 

Arachis Pintoi

Arachis pintoi is a forage plant native to Cerrado vegetation in Brazil. It is native to the valleys of the upper São Francisco and the Jequitinhonha rivers of Brazil.

 

Keyline = Keyline design is a landscaping technique of maximizing the beneficial use of the water … of Yeomans’ Keyline design system is the Keyline Scale of Permanence ( KSOP), which was the outcome of 15 years of adaptive experimentation.

Swale = A swale is a low tract of land, especially one that is moist or marshy. … Artificial swales are often infiltration basins, designed to manage water runoff, filter pollutants, and increase rainwater infiltration.

Contour line = In cartography, a contour line (often just called a “contour”) joins points of equal elevation (height) above a given level, such as mean sea level. A contour map is a map illustrated with contour lines, for example a topographic map, which thus shows valleys and hills, and the steepness or gentleness of slopes.

August 2016

Time is flying by. Now it’s already again August. Exactly 2 years ago back in 2014 we left Zurich Switzerland with the plane to São Paulo in Brazil to officially start our exploration journey of latin America. First Paraguay then Bolivia after that Colombia and finally Ecuador. Much has happened since then. Even more happened now in the last 3 month here in the Zamora Chinchipe Province part of the so called “Oriente” region of Ecuador which is in fact part of the great Amazon Basin. Here we found a property and build the first cabana to live and work the finca full time. Have been planting fruit trees and bamboo like crazy the last month. And since August now also moved to the cabana where we have water and electricity! Only the shower is not quite warm yet … only about 15 minutes in the afternoon. We will find a workaround here… 🙂 Today the food-bodega-room just got inagurated and we are also finalizing the compost toilet.

PermaTree_Ecuador_Cabana_permaculture Cocina_PermaTree Btina_Santi_PermaTree PermaTree_construcion2016 Giant_Bamboo_PermaTree-Ecuador HealthyFood_PermaTree_Ecuador

Volunteer opportunity in Ecuador!

Take the chance and visit us! A Volunteer abroad opportunity at Finca PermaTree located in the South Ecuador between the Amazon basin and Andes mountain range. We’re just starting to build the house and the farm with Permaculture principles. Be involved within the very first steps, like building the main bamboo house and starting with planting many fruit trees, bamboo and timber trees.

You can be part of the development processes. Participate as a volunteer or learn from people who share their knowledge. On the other hand, we are always looking for mentors to teach the respective topics which match the specific sub-project. Or visit the farm to get a taste of permaculture in the green. However, there are also other ways how you can collaborate.

Our little permaculture farm in Ecuador – it’s 76 Hectares in size. It takes about 3 hours to walk around the property. It starts at 800 meters above the sea level and ends at about 1300! There is one bigger creek and about 4 water streams (ojos de agua) which start within the property like the bigger creek. So there should be no water quality issues. There is at least one waterfall of a few meters – we need to explore this a bit better.

Our Main Focus with PermaTree:

  • Researching and implementing sustainable lifestyles
  • Food forest – A permaculture forest garden mimics the architecture and beneficial relationships of a natural plant/animal community that occurs in that climate. Food forests are designed and managed ecosystems that are very rich in biodiversity and productivity
  • Seed bank – seed exchange
  • Collaborative Community – Language and sustainable living exchange
  • Conservation – All the current left over forest areas will be from now on nature reserve
  • Analog Reforestation – re-vegetating depleted soil with flora that mimic the role of original native species to bring back natural vs. anthropogenic harmony
  • Transparency  – Open information / Open source – share information

 

Some landscape, plant, food, nature impressions from the life at Finca PermaTree in Ecuador:

PermaTree Bamboo Guadua PermaTree Landscape Ecuador PermaTree Yellow Bamboo Banana Cacao Creek River PermaTree_landscape_roadvolunteer at Permatree jungle creek Permatree_jungle_Waterfall_creek Permatree_jungle1 Permatree_jungle2 PermaTree_Chonta_Palm PermaTree_WaterFall1_jungle healthyfood permatree encocado tropical fruit juice healthy

 

Found a property in Ecuador!

After a literally long and intense exploration and research during more than 600 days (2 years)! Which we started in Paraguay back in 2014 and then went to Bolivia. From there to Colombia where we finally decided to explore Ecuador.

property exploration1 PermaTree Property Hike property exploration2 property exploration4

We are very proud and happy and thankful to announce that we finally found and bought a property in Ecuador, South America to start with our vision for PermaTree. And so exited of course! Finally!!! 🙂

Honestly the last few month have been exhausting. Property purchase negotiations have been never-ending. For the first few months in Ecuador we had no own car and where renting one or driving with the taxi around witch was a bit of struggle. It was very challenging to find some decent renting place in the region. They have attempted to break-in twice into the house we are renting. Our legal 6-Month-Tourist-VISA was running out of time. Parts of our material is still stuck in Bolivia since 11 month now. The postal service in Ecuador is rather experimental there are no postal codes in use and no street numbers … we are waiting for official documents from Switzerland since now 7 weeks and nobody knows where it is and if or when it will arrive.

Once again we very lucky to have found fantastic new friends in the local community which have been supporting us. Thank you to our friends from the coast Lida y la familia Mieles (Quinta Guadalupana), Piet Sabbe (Bosque de Bambu), Peter from Terra Frutis (vegan community not far from us in Gualaquiza) and Etelvina, Henry, Don Rey, Lorena, “los amigos” and Max (the dog) from beautiful El Pangui and Loja region.
As always: “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

Property Facts

Our little permaculture farm in Ecuador – We where searching for min. 50 to max. 200 Has and found 76 Has matching to all the other search criteria. It takes about 3 hours to walk around the property. It starts at 800 meters above the sea level and ends at about 1300! It’s located at the edge of the Sierra (Andes mountain range which stretch 1800 kilometers from north to south, along the west coast of the continent) and the Oriente (Amazonas region) in Ecuador. So the property is part of the Andes mountain range  and part of the Amazon River Basin which covers a total covers an area of about 7,500,000 km2 or roughly 40% of the South American continent.

PermaTree overview_property_76has

There is one bigger creek and about 4 water streams (ojos de agua) which start within the property like the bigger creek. So there should be no water quality issues. There is at least one waterfall of a few meters – we need to explore this a bit better. Currently there are no roads on the property itself. The access to the property is directly from the newly build highway traveling north to south Amazon Road (E45) “Troncal Amazónica”. From Quito its about 8.5 hours straight driving in a car. There are may public buses which travel from all the directions to there but they take more time because they stop very often normally. There are daily flights from Quito to Cuenca and from Cuenca its about 3-4 hours straight without the finalized road which is still being build right now as we speak. There are also airports near Yantzaza and Gualaquiza which have flights to Puyo. Alternative would be by boat via the river Zamora but we haven’t tried that option yet.

Our Main Focus with PermaTree:

  • Researching and implementing sustainable lifestyles
  • Food forest – A permaculture forest garden mimics the architecture and beneficial relationships of a natural plant/animal community that occurs in that climate. Food forests are designed and managed ecosystems that are very rich in biodiversity and productivity
  • Seed bank – seed exchange
  • Collaborative Community – Language and sustainable living exchange
  • Conservation – All the current left over forest areas will be from now on nature reserve
  • Analog Reforestation – re-vegetating depleted soil with flora that mimic the role of original native species to bring back natural vs. anthropogenic harmony
  • Transparency  – Open information / Open source – share information

Soil Type

The property has been used for more than 10 years for almost pure growing cows from pasture. The pasture soil is degraded after years of pasture only for cows and more than enough use of agrochemical POISON (multinationals Monsanto / Syngenta) to kill all the other kinds of natural “weed” / plants etc … Currently no signs of soil erosion which is good enough other issues.

The soil type is very diverse because of all the micro climates depending of the altitude within the property.

Our focus with PermaTree is to regenerate the soil:

  • Harvesting worm compost to create new rich soil with earth worms
  • Secure water – with Bamboo reduces rain run-off and downstream flooding and retains water within the watershed

Climate: Tropical

The PermaTree property is located between Yantzaza and El Pangui in the province of Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador. This region has a tropical climate. There is significant rainfall. Even in the driest month there is a lot of rain. This climate is considered to be Af according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The average annual temperature in Yantzaza is 22.7 °C. Precipitation here averages 1959 mm.

Climate Table Annual Temperature

Climate Graph Annual Rainfall
Source: http://en.climate-data.org/location/25493/

 

Existing Fruit Trees and Edible Plants

A good indicator of the soil is that currently there are about 25 to 50 fruit trees and edible plants on the property: Cacao, Sweet Lemon, Lemon, yellow and red Bananas, Platano, Yuca, Guayabana, Guaba, Mango, Sugarcane, Chonta palms, Papaya, Corn, Coffee and Naranjilla also called “little orange” etc.

 

Planed Food Forest

For our planned food forest we are also ready to start to plant many Coconut palms, Avocados, Orange, Lemon, Lime, Pomelo (Grapefruit), Durian, Zapote, Pineapple, Moringa, Katuk, Tobacco, Aloe, Tumeric, Ginger, Lemongrass, Laurel, Pumpkin (grow like crazy), Higo, Frijoles y Porotos (beans), wild cherry Tomatos and Babaco which is a “Mountain Papaya”, Mangosteen, Jackfruit, Snakefruit, Bolivian cherimoya, Artocarpus odoratissimus (fruta de pan), Surinam cherry, max. different Banana diversity and many many more.

🙂

Coconut Palms

We have been told by the previous owners that the property had coconut palms but did not plant any and so the existing ones just died. The neighbors have plenty of coconut palms so this will be one of the first task we are going to do is to plant about 50 coconut palms which already have a height of about 1 meter today. Back in Bolivia a landlocked country located 3000km further south we saw many coconut palm trees and since then we decided that we want to plant as many as possible on the PermaTree property.

 

Native Seed Hunt In Ecuador

One of the biggest challenges here in Ecuador is the hunt for native seeds. Believe me it’s not easy. I have been seed hunting in Gualaquiza, Cuenca, Guayaquil, Quito and Ibarra. It’s almost hilarious that the agrochemical multinationals also sell GMO seeds and those are the most common used…  🙁

Red De Guardianes De Semillas ecuador

It’s not all lost yet but you have to hunt for the local organic seeds. We discovered in Quito the very well organized Seed Saver Network (RGS – La Red de Guardianes de Semillas del Ecuador) which sells and exchanges local organic seeds. They are a Non-Profit Organization, established in November 2002. Currently there are more than 300 members in the RGS network which share their seeds. RGS also trains farmers to save seeds, providing a national platform for seed preservation, creating an effective network between campesinos and educating activists nationwide to conserve biodiversity and promote food sovereign.

Happy us. Another great source for tropical / exotical fruit seed in Ecuador is the Guaycuyacu farm of Jim West there is a great article about them here on issuu. Thanks to Piet Sabbe from Bosque de Bambu for indicating great local bamboo sources. Soon we are going with a friend to visit some different Shuar communities in the depth of the Amazonas region which could help us to find some more native seeds which the Colonos (local colonists) do not use any more.

 

Forest

There is sadly zero “primary forest” left. Primary forest refers to untouched, pristine forest that exists in its original condition. This forest has been relatively unaffected by human activities. In Ecuador there is VERY little primary forest left. On our property there is NONE left. Neither is there secondary forest. Most likely the remaining forests of the PermaTree property are third-growth. They remaining forest cover, is located mainly at inaccessible areas.

wwf_map_of_deforestation_front

WWF has drawn on projections in the Living Forests Model, a major literature survey and interviews with dozens of experts around the world to identify 11 places with major deforestation fronts, highlighted in this map. These places are where the bulk of global deforestation is projected to take take place over the two decades, from 2010 to 2030.

amazon-rainforest-map-2013

Ecuador, is a relatively small country with the total size of 270’000 km2, had historically 132’000 km2 of pure jungle. While blessed with one of the highest biodiversity indices, Ecuador also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation estimated at over 300’000 hectares (3%) per year. 

yago deforestation ecuador

Only about 5% remain of the rich forests of the coastal region, most of which have been destroyed in the last 50 years by mining, logging, agroindustrial monocultures (banana, cacao, coffee, African palm) and colonization. According to Ecuador’s Environmental Ministry, 65’880 hectares of land are deforested in the country each year. The country’s illegal timber trade is worth around 100 million dollars, and represents up to 70% of wood transported out Ecuador’s remaining rainforest.

btina deforestation ecuador

According to satellite imagery analyzed by the watchdog group IMAZON, Amazon deforestation in 2014 and into the beginning of 2015 had more than doubled compared with the same time period a year earlier.

A interesting historical detail here is that the single largest contributor to deforestation in Ecuador were the Agrarian Reform Laws (1964, 1972) which promoted the colonization of “vacant” (forest) land as the solution to relieve social pressures caused by inequitable (feudal) land distribution, while expanding the agricultural frontier and subsidizing the growth of export-oriented industrial agriculture. The “Green Revolution” (GR) was included in the Agrarian Reform package which the U.S. government sponsored throughout Latin America as part of the “Alliance for Progress” in the 1960’s.
Source: Causes and consequences of deforestation in Ecuador

 

Wildlife / Biodiversity

Ecuador is a country with a varied terrain resulting in a variety of habitats for animal life. Ecuador’s birdwatching is legendary. In the entire country of Ecuador, there are an estimated 1600 species of birds. In the Ecuadorian Amazon region, you will find: 800 species of fish, including three sorts of piranhas, 350 Species of reptiles, including anacondas and iguanas, more than 300 species of mammals, including monkeys and jaguars. Thousands of species of plants and trees. Thousands of species of insects: one acre of rainforest may be home to 70,000 species of insect!

Although in theory Ecuador has one of the highest biodiversity indices in reality so far we saw a one white rabbit! And many types of birds of which some are yellow and blue and other Eagle / mice buzzards. Many insects apart from the Mosquitoes, Ants, Worms, Dasypus “armadillo”. We need to explore much more the existing wildlife.

One explication for this situation is that Ecuador has been buildings lots of excellent roads even into the amazon basin. The building of oil roads into the Amazon has led to unsustainable indigenous hunting, fed an illegal bushmeat market, possibly facilitated the pet trade, and is emptying rainforests of wildlife.
Source: mongabay

 

Water

“Water is the new oil” quote T. Boone Pickens. The Global Economic Forum identifies water crises as the third most serious risk the world faces in 2014. In just a few years from now in 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and 2/3 of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions!

projected water scarcity in 2025
Source: FEW

Multinationals like Nestle (Switzerland) and Coca Cola (USA) know this since a while and have been buying up all water sources on the entire globe. So don’t forget if possible to boycott companies like Nestlé and Coca-Cola! It’s the best thing you can do for yourself anyway. You health and your teeth will improve shorty after stopping to consume that kind of commercial poison.

yago water ecuador

Knowing that water is today and even more in future a serious key factor for survival we have had a strong focus on having enough water but not too much. This may sounds funny but we have been in places where there was no water and in other places where there was so much water that almost nothing grew because of to much water. So here again it’s all about finding a harmony.

waterfall btina 2016 ecuador

This is why we focused our search in Ecuador and specifically in the province of Zamora-Chinchipe. The climate is almost perfect; not to fresh during night, good sun during the day but also clouds and some hours of rain (check the climate info). So a little of everything it’s hot but not to hot like in Paraguay with 49 degrees Celsius. It’s fresh but not so fresh like in Bogota where after every visit I have a slight cold.  There are also less inhabitants in Zamora-Chinchipe. No serious worries compared to the coastal region of Ecuador where the food is great but there is increasing insecurity and locals tend to move to other regions if they can which is a good indicator.

 

Bamboo

There is already some yellow bamboo by the stream. We plan to plant a lot of different bamboo types along the river on a total distance of about 1000 meters or more.

Green Bamboo Leafs

Most varieties grow about 5 cm a day, and will reach their full height within one growing season. Certain species of bamboo can grow 90 cm within one day, at a rate of 3 cm/h!

Did you know that Bamboo produces 35% more Oxygen than Trees?

Unlike most tree species, harvesting bamboo does not kill the plant, so topsoil erosion and other adverse effects of tree-felling are kept to a minimum.

 

 

 

 

Ecuador

Nature: Flora and Fauna of Ecuador

Ecuador has 10% of all of earth’s plants.

This country has more species of plants per area unit than any other country in South America. 18% of the total discovered birds in world, 1655 birds, are found in Ecuador. The 382 mammal species that exist in this country, comprise 7% of the 5,490 species registered in the world. It is, in summary, a rich tropical region, with wetlands, due to its privileged geographic location in the Neotropics, which makes it form part of this privileged list of biodiversity.

Ecuador Landscape

Like many visitors, we where surprised that the country is not only tropical but is also home to so many microclimates, including the snow capping the highest of the Avenue of Volcanoes’ 55 peaks (of which 14 are active). Another interesting detail is that the Chimborazo in Ecuador has an altitude of 6310 meters (20,703 feet). Mount Everest has a higher altitude, and Mauna Kea is “taller.” However, Chimborazo in Ecuador has the distinction of being the “highest mountain above Earth’s center.”

The climatic extremes are amazing, but it’s how fast it changes that is so startling. Yet, this, more than anything, illustrates how the tiny nation of Ecuador nurtures one of just 17 biological megadiversity hot spots on the planet.The numbers are staggering: 1600 – 15% of the world’s – bird species on the mainland alone and another 38% that are endemic to the Galapagos; 3500 orchid species, the most on Earth; 4500 or more butterflies; more than 16000 plant species, 106 reptiles and 138 amphibians native to the country, and so on.

BioDiversity Ecuador

Drive 20 minutes and everything changes, in this South American country that’s just smaller than Italy: the topography, climate, plants and animals – even the culture and language.

 

Threats from modernization

Unfortunately, Ecuador’s natural wealth is continuously challenged by unsustainable economic development from sectors such as oil and gas, fisheries, logging, mining and infrastructure. Coupled with rapid population growth, historically high deforestation rates, and an economy highly dependent on exporting raw materials rather than refined products.

Market in Quito Ecuador

Iconic species such as jaguars, great green macaws and brown-headed spider monkeys are all in jeopardy from the rampant habitat loss. Being one of the world “hot spots” of biodiversity – from dry tropical forest (less than 2% remaining in Ecuador), coastal humid tropical forest and coastal wet tropical forest (currently only 0.8% remaining)…

deforestation in ecuador 2016

The deforestation figure in all of coastal Ecuador is 98%. The Pacific Equatorial Forest, which has suffered an estimated loss of 75% of its native forest, has thus fared somewhat better than the rest of the region owing to its limited access and more challenging topography. However, the construction of a new coastal highway through the region threatens to facilitate the deforestation of the last remnants of Pacific Equatorial Forest. Sadly the vast majority of the Pacific Equatorial Forest remains unprotected and continue to be logged and cleared for agriculture and cattle ranching. More than 60’000 hectares of  forest are lost every year! In 2009 the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment launched its Socio Bosque (Forest Partners) program, which provides forest owners with an annual conservation subsidy of $30 per hectare ($12/acre), has had some traction in the region but the long-term efficacy is still uncertain.

 

Pachamama in Ecuador?

Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. She is also known as the earth mother.

Is there a alternative sustainable agricultural model?

The spread of organic agriculture is a multi-faceted process that includes a tension between economic and social factors. Nationally, public institutions like the Ministry of Agriculture serve as the central nodes of the network, but their initiatives to promote organic agriculture are less developed than those of both foreign and domestic NGOs. Key actors are more successful in spreading organic agriculture if they are perceived as legitimate and capable leaders. The spread of modern organic agriculture appears to follow the top-down diffusion model. However, a growing grassroots agroecology movement follows a more decentralized approach. (Source: Return to pachamama?  The diffusion of organic agriculture in Ecuador by Sophie Fuchs, 2011)

 

Permaculture movement and communities

Ecuador permaculture movement is alive and well, but not exactly comparable to for example Costa Rica which is located much nearer physically to the United States. Costa Rica “Pura Vida” marketing-lifestyle-expression is definitely very different. 🙂 While exploring Costa Rica in 2014 for 4 weeks we did enjoy our stay and visited many so called Eco Villages, Green Resorts, beautiful Nature reserves and so picturesque Caribbean sand beaches. Here we got our inspiration to start to explore for a place for our own project PermaTree. In Ecuador there are various so called international communities and or Permaculture Farms, Private Reserves some of them which we have been able to visit. So far we have noticed that most projects are still in a phase of growth and there is much potential in working together for sure. The permaculture “idea” does help for sure. We have been avoiding places with too many expats at the beginning and did explore a few after a while like mountain village of Mindo and the city Cuenca later. Networking with similar minded people never hurts. In theory the idea behind “permaculture” should not be anything new for the remaining native and indigenous peoples, who have retained a balanced way of interacting with green living things for thousands of years. But reality is different than theory. In Ecuador many indigenous peoples such as the Shuar and the Achuar have a rather difficult time “adapting” to the so called modern world  “work & consume”. Most local people here in Ecuador have never heard of the term “Permaculture” and if they live from agriculture then from pastureland and growing cows. It’s the same situation in Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador. No big difference here. Ecuador has a very privileged geographic location and much less climatic issues than most countries we explored in South America.

The movement of sustainable communities in Ecuador reflects a bit the fact that it sits on the halfway mark of the Earth: it’s neither invisible nor well defined, though small, it has many projects, although they are not necessarily part of a functional network (Quote: Leti y Ryan – http://www.comuntierra.org)

The biodiversity is Ecuador’s main attraction, however there are is also a surprisingly diverse ecological movement with some very interesting and peculiar projects.

Permaculture inspired Farms in Ecuador:

 

Seed Savers Network – RGS

Another very interesting network in Ecuador are the Seed Saving Network (Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Ecuador) which is a Non-Profit Organization, established in November 2002. Currently there are more than 300 members in the RGS network which share their seeds. RGS also trains farmers to save seeds, providing a national platform for seed preservation, creating an effective network between campesinos and educating activists nationwide to conserve biodiversity and promote food sovereignty in country. Source: https://www.facebook.com/guardianesdesemillas/

The plant nursery

Arriving in El Pangui canton Zamora Chinchipe we have lost no time and started right away with a plant nursery (A nursery is a place where plants are propagated and grown to usable size). Our food forest plant-wish-list is growing (see the list below. Currently about 147 different names… Most of them are of course fruit plants but many vegetables and of many herbs. Also so called “árboles maderables” aka timber trees. We are focusing on local plants but are also taking advantage of the tropical climate to grow and plant bamboo and all the known tropical plants here. One of the more challenging task here has been to get the seeds! Its crazy most people dont grow anything. The best way is buying the fruit / vegetable and planting it later directly.

Photos from the plant nursery

plant-nursery-permatree-btinaplant-nurseryplant-nursery-permatree1 plant-nursery-permatree plant-nursery-permatree3
plant-nursery plant-nursery plant-nursery plant-nursery plant-nursery flooded plant-nursery plant-nursery plant-nursery  plant-nursery plant-nursery

Plants we already have in the nursery

Tomatoes
Avocados
Figs
Pimiento
Mango
Papaya
Lime
Madarin
Orange
Jinjibre – Ginger
Tumeric
Coco palms
Pumpkin
Carrots
Chili
Cacao
Tobacco plant
Hierba Luisa Grass
Geranium
Tutuma / Bototo
Garlic – Ajo
Cabagge – Cool
Elder
Balm
Red “Grayseed”
Chia
Cucumbre – Cucumber
Peas
Cedron
Pineapple
Basil
Onion
Jarasillo – timber tree
Sabila
Pulmera Euterpe

 

Food forest wish-list

// FRUITS – Frutas
Annona (Annonaceae)
Araza – Arazá (Eugenia stipitata)
Banana – Guineo (Musa × paradisiaca)
Red dacca banana – Guineo moreno (Musa acuminata (AAA Group) ‘Red Dacca’.)
Cacao – Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
Lemon – Limon (Citrus × limon)
Lime? – Limoncillo (Melicoccus bijugatus)
Lulo – Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense)
Grapefruit – Pomelo (Citrus x paradisi)
Tree Tomato / Tamarillo – Tomate de árbol (Solanum betaceum, Syn. Cyphomandra betacea)
Borojo – borojó (Borojoa patinoi)
Papaya – Mamon (Carica papaya)
Mountain Papaya – Babaco (Vasconcellea x heilbornii; sin. Carica pentagona)
Passion fruit – Maracuyá (Passiflora edulis)
Jackfruit – árbol de jaca / yaca o panapén (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
Soursop – Guanábana (Annona muricata)
Chirimuya – Chirimoya (Annona cherimola)
Durian – durián (Durio zibethinus)
Sweet granadilla or grenadia – Granadilla (Passiflora ligularis)
Abiu – Caimito (Pouteria caimito)
Noni – gunábana cimarrona, fruta del diablo (Morinda citrifolia)
Peach – Melocoton (Prunus persica)
Pineapple – Piña (Ananas comosus)
Pitahaya – pitahaya (Cactus fruit)
Purple mangosteen – (Garcinia mangostana)
Rhubarb – Ruibarbo (Rheum rhabarbarum)
Grape – Uva (Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera)
Star fruit – Carambola (Averrhoa carambola)
Mango / melocotón de los trópicos (Mangifera indica)
Orange – Naranja (Citrus x sinensis)
Salak – Snakefruit (Salacca zalacca)
Peruvian cherry – Uchuva (Physalis peruviana)
Pumpkin – Zapallo / Calabaza (Cucurbita pepo)
Sapote – Zapote (tzapotl)

// VEGETABLES – Verduras
Avocado – Aguacate, Palta (Persea americana)
Beans – Frijoles y Porotos (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Carrot – Zanahoria (Daucus carota)
Chia (Salvia hispanica)
Cabbage – Col, Repollo (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Corn – Mais / Choclo (Maize)
Onion – Cebolla (Allium cepa)
Garlic – Ajo (Allium)
Ginger – Jengibre (Zingiber officinale)
Potatoes – papa o patata (Solanum tuberosum)
Pepper – pimiento (Capsicum annum)
Pumpkin – Calabaza gigante (Cucurbita pepo)
West Indian pumpkin – Calabaza (Cucurbita moschata)
Tomatos – Tomate (Solanum lycopersicum)
Tiny tomato – Tomate de selva – (Lycopersicon esculentum)
Tumeric – Cúrcuma (Curcuma zedoaria)
Radishes – Rábanos (Raphanus sativus)
Quinoa – Quinua (Chenopodium quinoa)
Yuca – Manioc (Manihot esculenta)
Zucchini – calabacín (Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo convar. giromontiina)
Spinach – Espinacas (Spinacia oleracea)
Fennel – Hinojo (Foeniculum vulgare)
Chili pepper – Chile / Pimiento / ají (Capsicum)

// HERBS – Hierbas
Basil – Basilikum – Albahaca (Ocimum basilicum)
Caña de azúcar – Saccharum officinarum
Lemongrass – Hierbaluisa (Cymbopogon)
Vanilla – Vainilla (Vanilla planifolia)
Aloe Vera – Sábila / Alóe (Aloe)
Camille – Manzanilla (Chamaemelum nobile)
Peppermint – Menta (Mentha × piperita, also known as M. balsamea Willd)
Oregano – orégano (Origanum vulgare)
Rosemary – Romero (Rosmarinus)
Lavender – Lavanda (Lavandula angustifolia)
Maggy herb – Levístico o hierba maggi (Levisticum officinale)
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)
Coffee – Cafe
Tea – Tee
Coca (Erythroxylum novogranatense var. novogranatense) the legal version.
Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis)
Cannabis / Marihuana (Cannabis sativa, Cannabis sativa forma indica, Cannabis ruderalis) the legal version.
Cha / Cháhuā – planta de té (Camellia sinensis)

// TREE
Canela – Árbol de la canela (Cinnamomum verum)
Tutuma – Bototo (Ecuador) – “Calabash Tree” (Crescentia cujete)
Baobab (Adansonia digitata) Africa
Moringa (Moringa oleifera) Africa
Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Cedar – Cedro (Cedrus libani )
Cockspur coral tree – Ceibo (Erythrina crista-galli)
Guayacay – guayaco (Guaiacum officinale)
Erythrina – El árbol del porotillo (Erythrina velutina)
Quickstick – mata ratón / madre cacao (Gliricidia sepium)
Ischnosiphon – Guarumo, casupo o tirite (Ischnosiphon arouma)
Saman – Samanea saman, samán, tamarindo (Albizia saman)
Rubber tree – árbol del caoutchouc (Hevea brasiliensis)
Balsa – Arbol de Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale)
Sauce – Salix (Salix caprea)
Podocarpus – Intimpa (Podocarpus glomeratus)
Sangre de drago
Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)
Sangre de drago (racaena drace)
Forestiera – Forestiera ecuadorensis (Oleaceae)
Olive – árboles de olivo negro (Olea europaea)
Teak – Teca (Tectona grandis)
Vegetable ivory – Tagua palma (Phytelephas macrocarpa)
Guayacán, madera negra (Tabebuia bilbergii)
Amarillo (Centrolubium Ochroxilmi)
Brazilian fern tree – Pachaco / guapuruvú (Schizolubium parabybon)
white teak – Melina / gamhar (Gmelina arborea)
Balsa – Ochroma lagopus — Sierra humedo tropical, 5nos
Seique / Tornillo (Cedrelinga cateniformis)
Cutanga – Parkia multijuga— Bosque montanoso seco
Guarango – Parkia nitida — Bosque montanose seco
Jacaranda – Jacaranda capais — Bosque montanose seco
Mani de arbol – Cariodendrum orinosesis — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Pigue – Pollalista kaustenil — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Sangre de Drago – Crotom s.p — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Balsa – Ochroma lagopus — Sierra humedo tropical, 5nos
Laurel – Cordial alliodora — Sierra, bosque humedo tropical, 18anos
Caoba – Swintenia macrophylla — Costa, bosque seco, 25anos
Causarina – Causarina eguisetifolia — Costa, bosque seco, 25anos
Flanboyan – Delonix regia — Costa, bosque seco
Guapan – Minguaitin guianensis — Costa, bosque seco
Leucaena – Leucaena leucocephala — Costa, bosque seco
Acacia fistula – Clarisla recemosa
Algarrobo – Prosopis inemis
Nin – Azadirechte indica

// NUTS – Nueces/Nuts
Coconut – Coco
Brazil nut – nuez amazónica (Bertholletia excelsa)
Chontaduro (nut)
Inca-peanut – maní del Inca / maní jíbaro (Plukenetia volubilis)

 

and more …

What’s Permaculture?

We have been asked so many times by family, friends and acquaintances what this so called “Permaculture” now means. A few had heard it has something to do with gardening. Or how to raise a flower bed …

So we decided to explain it the most simple way via a video so it’s slightly easier to understand. Btina did a fantastic job in front of the camera hanging in the hammock. You can see my foot on the left side 🙂

What’s Permaculture video on YouTube

We did translate it in Spanish, German and French so when you watch it on YouTube the subtitles should automatically change to the language you use on your device.

English

“Permaculture is a 10,000-year-old technology based on knowledge of our tribal ancestors. It’s not only a sustainable way to grow own food (fruit, vegetables and animals) but an holistic lifestyle and philosophy.”

Deutsch

“Permakultur ist eine 10’000 Jahre alte Technologie, die auf das Wissen unserer Vorfahren aufbaut. Es ist nicht nur eine nachhaltige Möglichkeit, die eigene Nahrung (Obst, Gemüse und Tiere) zu erwirtschaften, auch einen ganzheitlichen Lebensstil und Philosophie zu leben.”

Español

“La permacultura es una tecnología de 10.000 años de edad, a partir del conocimiento de nuestros antepasados tribales. No es sólo una manera sostenible para crecer propios alimentos (frutas, vegetales y animales), sino un estilo de vida holístico y una filosofía.”

Français

“La permaculture est une technologie 10 000 ans sur la base de connaissances de nos ancêtres tribaux. C’est non seulement un moyen durable de croître propre nourriture (fruits, légumes et animaux), mais un mode de vie holistique et une philosophie.”

Further information about Permaculture

Of course there is much much more and detailed information about Permaculture available for example here on Wikipedia or if you like to read books to feel free to check our Goodreads Permaculture recomended list. Our top Permaculture books so far:

Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Mollison, Bill
Permaculture Design – a Step by Step Guid by Aranya
The One-Straw Revolution by Fukuoka, Masanobu
Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide | Birnbaum, Juliana

Seeking permaculture land

Our goal with PermaTree is, to start our own self-sufficient, cooperative, eco farm, hostel and co-working, co-living space, nature reserve, eco-tourism, reforestation with the aid of the brilliant permaculture principles.

We plan to build natural buildings with adobe, bamboo or whatever makes sense depending where we finally settle. And to work with locals as well as volunteers to build all of those challenging future projects.

We are currently searching for land in Latin America. In Colombia where we currently are, Ecuador or even further north in Central America like for example Nicaragua. The country does not matter so much at the end. More these points: A stable climate, not under 20 degrees temperature, altitude of about 400 to 1400 Meters above the sea level and a little mountain so we can have different micro climates on a hill. A view would be nice and a spring where we can take water from it, all over the year. The water and the fruit trees are some of the most important thing to us!

If you are selling a property, that has already applied permaculture principles, that would be interesting for us. A living ecosystem would be best, or if the property has already fruit trees, that would come very handy. Or if you are selling a part of your permaculture property that would be an option too. To have similar open minded neighbors where we help each other would be ideal.

We like to cultivate all the existing tropical fruits and trees like for example; Papaya, Lemons, Coconuts, Bananas, Cacao, Corn, Potatoes, Avocados, Moringa, and all the other healthy benefits which nature provides. Some chickens, a pig, maybe a horse or donkey for the beginning would be good. One or two Insect hotels for better fruit pollination and honey. No cows and now over breeding at all is planned. For later we’re thinking of having some co-working space for digital nomads or people who likes to join the group for co-living off-the grid.

This is so far the main idea of living off the grid and start to research regenerative lifestyle focusing on nature.