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Certification of Good Agricultural Practices

Certification of Good Agricultural Practices (BAP by its acronym in Spanish) Yantza Farm – PermaTree

Yantza Farm – PermaTree obtained the Certificate of Good Agricultural Practices (BPA) from the Ministry of Agriculture with the register Nr. EC-Z-05-53-PA-G-2019-067 for the following crops: Soursop (Annona Muricata L), Guineo Ceda, Ilex Guayusa and Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Friday, October 4, 2019.

Good Agricultural Practices or BPAs according to the Ministry of Agriculture “They are a set of principles, standards and technical recommendations applicable to the production, processing and transport of food” with the aim of improving food quality, in order to improve the health of families who consume these foods, take care of the environment and improve the quality of life of workers and their families.

BPAs are important because people are more interested in the traceability and transparency of the origin of their food.

Among the main problems of not having BPA is that food produced may contain residues of agrochemicals, such as herbicides or insecticides, can carry diseases or pests that have some negative effect on the consumers of these foods Contaminated. Unsure of the provenance of our food, farmers will sell fewer products and their income will be reduced.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there are 3 fundamental pillars of BPAs:

  1. Food safety: Ensure that food is free from physical, chemical and biological hazards. 
  2. Quality and environmental management: Ensure the care of water, soil, native plant species, beneficial insects and natural sweeps.
  3. Occupational safety: To seek the health of farmers, the proper use of protective tools and equipment, training on the importance of their work in the field.

Why be BPA?

By being BPA certificated we can obtain better quality and healthier products for consumers, it guarantees the health and well-being of workers. Children from working families can go to school, production becomes sustainable over time and you have the opportunity to reach more competitive markets.

You can also have better control over the production of the farms. With better quality food yields are improved, farmers can improve their income, improving their quality of life.

Steps to obtain BPA

  1. History of the agricultural production unit and land selection
  2. Properly prepare the soil to prevent degradation and washing
  3. Plan the planting of crops and establish them
  4. Perform maintenance and care during the production cycle
  5. Fertilization to add nutrients to the soil to improve production
  6. Perform integrated pest management (IPM)
  7. Control the quality of water entering crops
  8. Properly handle products in harvest, transport and post-harvest.
  9. Keep production areas clean and disinfected
  10. Provide well-being and care to workers.
  11. Protecting and maintaining natural resources
  12. Traceability system, documentation and records for transparent processes.

Information obtained from AGROCALIDAD in Ecuador.

BPA at Yantza Farm – PermaTree

It is important to understand that organic production systems are the most natural and sustainable in time, as they are the closest thing to nature. these systems use natural resources and do not use chemicals that affect biodiversity and the balance of productive areas.

The Yantza Farm – PermaTree, is the first farm in the province of Zamora Chinchipe. Being an organic and permaculture farm, it aims to make consumers know what production processes are like. From the selection of plants that are sown, in this case soursop, which is the largest crop, to the process of added value and packaging of the products.

An important part of the estate is also the holistic approach it has. It is understood that the entire system is related and it is important to protect and maintain each of the elements of the system, from the smallest insects and microorganisms in the soil, to the larger animals such as the birds and trees that give shelter to them.

By implementing BPAs, you seek to obtain the best production results, taking care of the plants and giving them the necessary resources naturally for them to produce continuously. However, the most important thing is to get quality products and not necessarily quite poor-quality harvest.

The soil handling is a bit complex, as the area is not completely flat. Erosion is a big problem. With the large amount of rain that this area has, the soil is washed and the productive part is lost. For the management of this have been chosen to make terraces at level, every 5 meters to facilitate the planting and management of crops.

The use of plant toppings is important to reduce the impact of rain on the soil. For this it was chosen to use forage peanuts, as it is an excellent nitrogen fixer, resists trampling and is good at colonizing areas, thus reducing the spread of weeds.

Vetiver has also been planted on the edges of the terraces to prevent them from moving. The roots of the vetiver can grow up to 15 m, and this helps to hold the earth.

Near the productive areas are planted different native plants with flowering that attract insects. This in order to conserve native species, both flora and fauna, since insects help pollination, obtaining better results in production and quality.

For weed control, it is fumigated with urea, which is toxic in large quantities only for grasses. This applies when grasses start to appear again and make it difficult for other plants to grow

In this way, the PermaTree farm implements BPA’s, always taking into account the component, productive, economic and above all, environmental.


fectur 2019 zamora permatree cafe tipikas Ecuador

FECTUR 2019 Fair in Zamora

PermaTree-Cafe-Tipikas participated in the first Entrepreneurship, Culture and Tourism Fair in the city Zamora (FECTUR 2019). The event was on Friday, September 27, 2019. It started at 09:00 am at the Central Market Plaza, located on Amazonas street and Heroes del Paquisha avenue, a few steps from the central bus station in Zamora, Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador.

From left to right: Danny Carrillo, the barista and Walter Villacis

Next stop with PermaTree-Cafe-Tipikas in mid October 2019 with the TASA DORADA Competition and Festival de Café Cuatro Mundos in Quito.


The FECTUR 2019 event was very successful for us, because we could show to the local people the products and services that we offer at PermaTree Cafe Tipikas coffee shop, since about two months now. Drinking Coffee with different preparations methods, is not yet very popular in this region so its something new for a lot of people.

PermaTree Cafe Tipikas offers a high quality and single origen coffee. Our clients can see the full transparence of the coffee. Chemical-free. Where does it come from. How was it harvested. How was the post harvest, etc.

We offer microlots and single origin coffees from Zamora Chinchipe in Ecuador.

Microlots Coffee

Microlots are the golden child of the specialty industry. For buyers and consumers, they signify exceptional-quality coffees with distinctive flavours and aroma profiles that can be traced back to origin. A microlot is a plot of land, often smaller than their regular production area, which producers dedicate to growing coffee of exceptional quality. Working a smaller area of land allows the farmers to focus their time and attention to developing the coffee’s truly unique and wonderful qualities. The coffees grown there are called microlot coffees.

Single Origin Coffee

Single origin coffees allow roasters to pick varieties with unique character. The differences come from the growing conditions—soil, weather, and cultivation practices, which influence the final flavor. Single origin coffee is like purchasing a specialty wine. It’s a unique taste captured by nature itself, a seasonal event linked to what’s special about a particular region, farm, farmer, part of a farm, and how that differs from area to area, year to year. If you’re very specific about your coffee interests, and like the process of grinding your own using a french press, and savoring every sip, go single origin! It allows you to learn more about the beans and where they come from. Like a wine connoisseur, experiment with different roasts until you find your favorite.

The whole team of PERMATREE CAFE TIPIKAS

During the fair, the coffee with the Italian espresso method was the most popular between the options of the micro lots and unique origin coffee from Zamora-Chinchipe.

A key element of PERMATREE CAFE TIPIKAS quality are our producing farm families in the territory of Zamora-Chinchipe in Ecuador:

  • Vitaliano Merino, Imbana, Zamora-Ch, 1750 m.o.s.l.
  • Esperanza Villacis, El Chorro
  • Segundo Minga Chapinza, Yacuambi

All of them come from different places, but with the same thinking, to produce healthy food and in the highest quality.

A special greeting to MAG from Zamora, for the invitation and the recognition.

Always identified from the south of the Ecuadorian Amazon, where the Shuar ethnic group identifies with their costume and culture, which highlights the energy of feeling pioneers of flora and fauna.

470 years city of Zamora event main street – 2019
PermaTree, Ecuador

New PermaTree Logo Onwards

Dear friends as you may have noticed, not so long ago, we have up-dated our PermaTree Logo. Some may believe this is something not worth investing time in. Obviously we think differently 🙂 Let us quickly introduce you to the new logo and the background. We are located in the northwestern region of Ecuador at the edge of the Amazon rainforest. Within the Province of Zamora-Chinchipe. From a climatic point of view we are in the so called: tropical mountain rainforest.

The new PermaTree Logo

PermaTree Holistic Gaia Association logo

Biodiversity Hotspot

The region where we are is a rather unknown biodiversity hotspot. Actually it is the second hottest biodiversity hotspot worldwide! Topology is rugged terrain with steep slopes and deeply incised valleys covered with tropical mountain rain forest. The scar-like narrow natural landslides contribute considerably tp the high biodiversity in the region. All developmental stages of the mountain rain forest are present in close vicinity. Mutualistic interactions between plants and animals are the backbone of biodiversity. Further detailed information about the farm and the location here: Base PermaTree Farm Info.

Fireflies

We are located 20 minutes from the second highest populated city of the province called Yantzaza. The city is near the Zamora River’s bank, on the famous Yantzaza Valley or Valley of Fireflies (Spanish: Valle de Yantzaza o Valle de las Luciérnagas). The word “Yantzaza” originates from the local indigenous language of the Shuar. The Shuar tribe was internationally known for the shrunken human heads. They call a shrunken head a tsantsa, also transliterated tzantza. They would show off their heads to scare enemies and this did actually work pretty well for a long time with the Spaniards. So the fireflies are kind of our local identity. And yes we do have fireflies during the night time.

Most fireflies are winged, which distinguishes them from other luminescent insects of the same family, commonly known as glowworms. There are still about 2,000 firefly species. The fireflies insects are endangered by human activities such as habitat loss, light pollution and pesticides.

Guayusa Leafs

Another key element of our new logo are leafs of the Guayusa (Ilex guayusa) tree, native to the Amazon Rainforest. One of three known caffeinated holly trees, the leaves of the guayusa tree are dried and brewed like a tea for their stimulative effects. It contains the following 3 main elements 1.) Caffein, 2.) Theobromine 3.( L-theanine. Of course we are growing Guayusa in polyculture with Banana (Guineo Ceda – Musa acuminata).

Bamboo Leafs

Of course one of the main key elements of the logo are connected with another awesome plant with is the fastest growing plant on the planet. Bamboo. And yes we are still in process of planting even more Guadua angustifolia, Dendrocalamus asper and varieties which will help improve our direct environment and provide for lots of base materials in near future for added value products.

Lightbulb

Now the the lightbulb. Why a lightbulb. Well have a seen a firefly before? Those insects are literally are living lightbulbs. Also the lightbulb stands for new ideas. If you look closely at the lightbulb in the logo you will notice bamboo inside. This has a connection to the very early light bulb. Back in the days, 1880, Thomas Edison discovered the utility of carbonized bamboo as a filament lasting more than 1200 hours, which became the standard for Edison incandescent light bulbs for the next ten years.

The process of finalizing the new logo took us something like 2 month in total time… Lots of brainstorming sessions. 🙂

Visual Status Update 2019

As you can see yourself from the photos below, the visible transformation is massive at the PermaTree operation. It is clearly visible how the Soursop fruit trees have successfully grown. Actually we have pruned them else they would be even grown taller. And of course the Bamboo which is the fastest growing plant on the planet. However there is plenty of work left on site. As a result its a real boost to see how things grow from such a perspective.

The year 2019 started with heavy tropical rains – more than in the past years. Which is like everything, good and lets say also a additional challenge 🙂 When we started with PermaTree back in 2016 all of the farm was a cattle farm with pasture grass. Not only one pasture grass but something like 4 different types. We published a blog post not so long ago about Clearing zone-G for additional Fruit Tree PolyCultures.

Holistic Value Chain

Now that the Raw Material(s) are growing, we are starting to focus on the next steps in our holistic value chain … A holistic value chain integrates all actors into a transparent sequence from farmer to retail, consumer, balancing supply & demand and sharing profits fairly amongst all in proportion to their business risk.
Let us know if you want to be part of this!

Stay tuned 🙂

View: Bottom to Bamboo house 2017 – 2019

Comparision: 1 Apr 2017 vs 14 Feb 2019 = 22.5 month of time difference

Birdview: Bamboo House 2018 – 2019

Comparision: 8 Feb 2018 vs 14 Feb 2019 =~ 360 days 1 year of time difference

Additional Birdview Status

Giant Soursop

Health Benefits of the Soursop Fruit and Leaves

Soursop grows  on a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree in the rain forests of Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia and is a common food there. And here in Ecuador at the edge of the amazonas basin in our organic tropical farm PermaTree. Its scientific name is Annona muricata. Also known as Graviola, Custard Apple, Sauersack, Guanabana and Brazilian paw paw.

Even so the English name, “soursop” is derived from the Dutch zuurzak which means “sour sack”. The soursop is a extremely tasty tropical fruit. It has flavors that are is a combination of: Strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavor notes that contrast with its creamy texture, which is similar to the flavors of coconut and banana. Here is yet another take on the flavor of soursop: It has a delicate fragrance that is tropical, fruity, musky.

Soursop Tropical Superfood

Superfoods have extra-large doses of vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants, substances that shield our bodies from cell damage and help prevent disease. Antioxidants are natural compounds found in foods that protect against the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation in our bodies. This can help us ward off diseases and live a longer, healthier life.

It is recommended that if you are not able to grow your own superfoods, be sure that when purchasing a commercially available tropical superfood, to select a organic one to get the maximum health benefits.

General Healing Benefits of Soursop?

Practitioners of herbal medicine in Asian, African and South American countries have used the bark, leaves, root, and fruits of the soursop tree to treat infections with viruses or parasites, arthritis, depression, stomach ailments, fever, parasitic infections, hypertension and rheumatism. It’s used as a sedative, as well.

But claims of the fruit’s anti-cancer properties have attracted the most attention.

Soursop Fights Cancer

Soursop extracts from the leaf, fruit, and seed have been tested in laboratories for their anticancer effects for the past 40 years! Much of the research on the health benefits of soursop has been carried out by institutions independent of much of the pharmaceutical industry… The results of this research is generally made available to the public.

Some studies show these extracts to be active against breast (1) (2), lung (3), colon (4), prostate (5), pancreas (6) (7), liver (8), and skin cancer (9) cell lines. However, soursop products have not been studied in cancer patients.

  • One of five extracted from the seed of the soursop fruit was “selectively cytotoxic to colon adenocarcinoma cells(HT-29)” and “10,000 times stronger” in inhibiting cancer growth than the chemotherapy drug adriamycin.(10)
  • In 1997, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry suggested that soursop showed better results in destroying breast cancer cells than chemotherapy. Studies conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have proved soursop extract to be effective against both breast cancer and liver cancer.
  • Soursop extracts were found to kill certain types of breast and liver cancer cells (11).
  • According to one study, the soursop plant is a proven cancer remedy for most types of the disease (12). Though the tests haven’t been conducted on humans yet, the possibilities are promising.
  • In 2011, the journal Nutrition and Cancer revealed highly promising research on soursop and breast cancer. Researchers found that graviola fruit extract (GFE) suppressed expression of a breast-cancer causing oncogene known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in animal models. According to the researchers, “a 5-wk dietary treatment of GFE (200 mg/kg diet) significantly reduced the protein expression of EGFR in breast tumors by 56% … Overall, dietary GFE inhibited tumor growth, as measured by wet weight, by 32%.”
  • In another Indian study conducted on various cell lines, soursop leaves showed 80% cell inhibition. The acetogenins in soursop inhibit the harmful compounds in cancer cells (13).
  • A cell study in 1999 showed soursop had anti-prostate cancer and breast cancer activity; another 2002 cell study showed that graviola exhibited anti-hepatoma (liver cancer) activity. Studies performed at the University of Nebraska found that graviola inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.
  • Soursop extract had also inhibited the survival and metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells – and this indicates potential success in curing the lethal disease (14).
  • What possibly makes acetogenins unique is their ability to selectively destroy the cancer cells, without harming the healthy ones (15).

A well-maintained diet consisting of cancer-fighting superfoods such as the soursop can actually reduce the risk of various types of cancer and can also prove to be beneficial in treatment.

Soursop Treats Infections

Soursop can treat infections caused by bacteria and parasites, one of those being leishmaniasis, a disease caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bites of sand fleas (16) 
The leaves of the soursop tree are also used to treat a wide range of infections (17) 

Soursop For Gastrointestinal Health

Soursop is also found to have antiulcer properties. The fruit suppresses oxidative damage and preserves the mucus of the gastric wall (18). The significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the soursop fruit can help improve gastrointestinal health.

In one Brazilian study, the anthelmintic (the ability to kill parasites) properties of soursop leaf extract were studied (19). They studied the effects of a parasitic worm that caused gastrointestinal issues in sheep. The objective of the study was to inspect the effects of soursop towards the eggs and adult forms of the parasite. The study concluded that soursop is a natural anthelmintic, and since it could kill the parasites in sheep that caused them gastrointestinal issues, it might have similar effects in humans. More research is going on, though.

As per another report, excessive doses of oral iron can lead to gastrointestinal issues. Though soursop is a source of iron, the mineral content in the fruit is not as much as other ingredients – hence, it is unlikely to cause gastrointestinal distress. The same fact, again, could work for the benefit of the individual. For instance, an individual suffering from iron deficiency can be susceptible to anemia, which is known to cause dysfunction of the gastrointestinal system. Though soursop is not an excellent source of iron, it does contain iron – and hence can be a healthy addition to an iron-rich diet to combat anemia (and the resultant gastrointestinal problems) (20).

Soursop Fight Inflammation

In a Brazilian study, inflammation caused by snakebite was found to improve with the administration of soursop leave and juice (21)  However, the components of soursop might also slightly aggravate the ill effects of snake venom – hence, we need more research in this aspect.

Research in South America and tropical Africa had emphasized on the anti-inflammatory properties of the roots, barks, and leaves of the soursop tree (22). The ability to treat inflammation is good in soursop, and it can be used for relieving arthritis.
In addition to the anti-inflammatory effect, soursop is also known for its analgesic effects(23) 

Soursop Diabetes Treatment

According to a Nigerian study, soursop possesses anti-diabetic properties. The two groups of rats tested in the study had a significant difference in their blood glucose concentrations, with the group treated by soursop having lower concentrations than the other (24).

The soursop leaf aqueous extract was found to inhibit and even prevent the hepatic oxidative damage caused in diabetes patients (25) 

Soursop Kidney And Liver Health

As per one Malaysian study, soursop extract was found to be safe in rats that were being treated for kidney and liver ailments (26) Similar observations could be observed in humans as well.
According to another Indian study, the acetogenins in soursop can kill the malignant cells of 12 types of cancer, with liver cancer being one of them (27).

Soursop For Respiratory Health

One Nigerian study states the efficacy of soursop leaves in treating respiratory conditions like asthma (28).

Soursop Relieves Stress

As per a report by the University of Connecticut, soursop can be used extensively for the treatment of stress and other issues like depression (29).

Soursop For Hypertension

Soursop has been used in folklore for treating hypertension. This can be attributed to the antioxidant potential of phenols in the fruit, according to a Nigerian study (30). As per an Indonesian study report, soursop contains good nutrients that can help lower blood pressure levels in human adults (31).

Soursop For Better Immune System

A Korean study states that the intake of soursop can enhance immunity. This can be attributed to the bioactive compounds in the fruit. Oral intake of soursop leaf extracts was found to reduce edema in rat paws, which is usually caused due to a weak immune system (32). The study concludes by stating that soursop leaf extract has the potential to stimulate immunity, and hence can be used in the treatment of immunocompromised patients. Soursop can also be made a part of the diet to improve the overall lifestyle quality.

The juice of the soursop fruit was found to provide more micronutrients than its pulp. But the pulp has more amount of vitamin A than the juice. Soursop is also rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that strengthens and boosts the immune system. Beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A, also contributes to an enhanced immune system.

Another report published in a journal by The University of West Indies talks about a study where patients with different forms of cancer were given different foods, soursop being one of them. The objective of the experiment, as stated in the report, was to enhance the immune system of the patients (33).

Soursop Treats Fever

The soursop fruit has been traditionally used to treat fever. In Africa, a decoction of soursop leaves is used to control feverish symptoms and convulsive seizures. In fact, the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito (which transmit dengue fever), showed great vulnerability towards soursop extract (34).

As per an Indian study, the soursop fruit and its juice can not only treat fever, but also act as an astringent for diarrhea and dysentery (35) The fruit can help treat fever in children as well; soursop is widely used for this purpose in Africa (36).

Soursop Relieves Pain (Analgesic)

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, soursop can work as an analgesic. The mice used in the study were made to writhe, post which the soursop extract was induced in them. The experiment produced desirable results (37).

Soursop Treats Rheumatism

According to studies, the internal administration of soursop leaf decoction was found to exhibit anti-rheumatic properties. And the leaves, when cooked and topically applied, helped ease rheumatism and abscesses (38). In Africa, the unripe fruit of soursop is used to treat rheumatism and arthritic pain (39) Even the mashed leaves of the soursop tree are used as a poultice to treat rheumatism.

Soursop also contains anthocyanins, tannins, and alkaloids that exhibit anti-rheumatic effects.

Soursop Improves Eye Health

We have seen soursop is replete with antioxidants.

They donate electrons to free radicals, which neutralizes them and prevents them from causing harm. Bottom Line: Antioxidants are molecules that fight damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can harm cellular structures. Antioxidants do this by giving electrons to the free radicals and neutralizing them.

These antioxidants, especially vitamins C and E, zinc, and beta-carotene, have been found to decrease the risk of eye disease. The antioxidants also reduce oxidative stress, which can otherwise cause cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (40)

Adaptive Contour 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.

Birdview: Adaptive Contour Access Path

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 Contour

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

This is why we call this “Adaptive Contour”.

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

Adaptive Contour Access Path

PermaTree: Adaptive Contour Access Path

As you can see on the image we have two keyline points / 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 Arachis  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 Arachis 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.

Adaptive Contour Access Path

Image: Adaptive Contour Access Path

Video Adaptive Contour 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.

Adaptive Contour Access Path - Steep Hill Farming

Experiment: Bamboo Vegetative Method Reproduction

Experiment: Bamboo Vegetative Method Reproduction

Bamboos can be propagated either by reproductive method or vegetative method. Reproductive method involves the production of new bamboo plants through seeds while the vegetative method makes use of vegetative parts such as rhizomes, culms and branches.

Giant bamboo = Dendrocalamus giganteus, also known as dragon bamboo or one of several species called giant bamboo, is a giant tropical and subtropical, dense-clumping species native to Southeast Asia. It is one of the largest bamboo species in the world. 

5 days later. Successful experiment with giant bamboo.

As you can see the seedling was a adult culm (15cm width) with roots. Now the son has already surpassed it in height! This is the so called vegetative method which makes use of vegetative parts such as rhizomes, culms and branches.

Generally just before and during the wet season are the best times of the year to propagate bamboo, if water is available, it can be done at any time.

Important: We did several test and the one which worked well was the culm which still had some branches left. So it seems that to thrive the bamboo culm needs some roots 1-2cm and also a few branches with leaves to adapt and grow. Its kind of tricky.

Update 6 month later the same giant bamboo looks like this with a total of 3 new culms

Giant Bamboo Leafs

Giant Bamboo Leafs Close-up

 

Giant Bamboo Leaf can reach up to 20cm in size

 

Where is PermaTree in Ecuador?

PermaTree is located at the edge of the Andes mountain range and the amazon basin. The Amazon river system has its sources in the eastern flanks of the Andes. The Andes are the longest exposed mountain range of the world, and the second-highest after the Himalayas. The Andes mountain range is the highest mountain range outside Asia.

From this picture you can see on the top left the pacific ocean where the city of Machala is. On the right top side you can see Ecuador biggest city with about 2 million habitants which is Guayaquil. The brownish part in the center is the Sierra. Here on the right side is the colonial city of Cuenca which also has a airport. From the farm to Machala it can be a good 9 hours car ride. If you take the bus it can be longer.

On this picture you get an idea of the elevation and mountains which are around us. Also you can see part of the farm property location. Its not a flat farm 🙂 Lowest part if 800 m.o.s.l. and highest part is 1300 m.o.s.l

Keep in mind the river you see is the Rio Zamora which has more a less an elevation of 800 meters over the sea level. All surrounding it is higher. On the top of this picture you can see some peaks which most likely are some of the many active volcanos of Ecuador. The top of Mount Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is the point on the Earth’s surface most distant from its center. Mount Chimborazo is an inactive volcano in Ecuador, which last erupted over a thousand years ago.

Above is a updated touristic map of the canton de Yantzaza. PermaTree is located in the center where it says “Los Encuentros”. To be fair we haven’t seen 1% of all the things which are displayed here because we are busy building the farm and if we do have a few hours to chill we rather go and have a swim in our own natural pool 🙂

 

Ojeme – Volunteer Testimonial 2018

I spent four weeks at PermaTree, and my overall feeling about the experience is very positive : it was a great enlightening and rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to do :

  • Building work : I worked on the big sized greenhouse (I helped to build the roof, the field, the tables and install the taps) and the little bamboo house (I helped to paint the doors, and make the four windows and the doors out of bamboo and wood)
  • Farm work : I planted pineapples and vetiver, I made holes to plant trees, I filled insects traps in citric trees, I created paths so parts of the farm would be more easily accessible, I faced the wrath of the bees and the stubbornness of a horse, I braved the wilderness of the jungle to reach the waterfall, and did one of the main farm work i.e. cutting the 2 to 3 meters-tall grass with a machete (Yago’s hobby ;-))
  • House work : washing the dishes (there can be a lot), cooking, making bread (Yum!), lighting a fire in the oven, feeding the animals (giving food to the dogs is REALLY something !)

Some of the tasks were done under very hot sun, and others under very strong rain, the weather can vary a lot and rapidly ! Sometimes, the work can be hard and tiring, but I was never alone, and working with Cunanchi (the Ecuadorian worker), Yago and Btina has been a real pleasure. Also, talking and sharing our experiences and ideas has been enriching and instructive.

Finally, I must mention the uniqueness of the place that is beyond beautiful : the plants (the trees, the flowers …), the animals (the birds, the insects …) and the vastness (77 ha) of the land (I adored the view from the top of the finca) all of it contribute to make this place a true paradise.

I found out about PermaTree through Bridgeo.org, which is a French NGO run by young motivated guys. After guiding me to this mission, they really supported me before my departure.

Ojeme

Recipes – do it yourself

  • Here are the recipes I used to make the several products I brought :
  • Deodorant (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42Htnp8P9Eg):
    • 2 table spoons of arrow root powder
    • 1 table spoon of baking soda
    • 1 table spoon of coconut oil
    • 1 table spoon of shea butter (beurre de karité)
    • A few drops of essential oil (for the scent)
  • Mosquito repellent (http://memedanssesorties.com/3284/repulsif-anti-moustiques-naturel/) :
    • 10 mL of vegetal oil (I used hazelnut oil)
    • 6 mL of essential oil :
      • 3 mL of citronella (I used 2 mL of Java’s citronella)
      • 2 mL of geranium
      • 1 mL of peppermint (because of Violetta, I used 2 mL of eucalyptus citronné instead of peppermint, because “Du fait de la présence de menthone, l’huile essentielle de menthe poivrée n’est pas recommandée aux femmes enceintes, allaitantes et aux enfants de moins de 6 ans, ainsi qu’aux personnes souffrant d’hypertension”)
  • Laundry detergent (Don’t forget to shake it before every use !) :
    • 1L of hot water
    • 30 g of natural olive oil soap (in chips)
    • 1 spoon of baking soda
    • (Optional) A few drops of essential oil (for the scent)


   

PermaTree’s productive and nutritional capacity. Summary and conclusion.

The completion of this SIP (Self Initiated Project) during August 2017 demanded many volunteer hours which, according to Yago and Btina Veith, permacultors and owners of the Yantza farm, located in the south east of Ecuador, and creators of the PermaTree.org project, is innovative. Since it combines the technique and practice of permaculture, with the science of nutrition in detail.

PermaTree’s productive and nutritional capacity.

The challenge was to analyze what nutrients would be provided to the people of the farm in the short, medium and long term, based on the variety of crops sown, and predict and forecast how much food would be available, to uncover the capacity of future supply.

Those questions were answered. The most important species, representing the not inconsiderable number of more than thirty, among fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes and nuts were taken into account. These are the food groups that I consider indispensable, and without contraindications, to develop a full and long life.

Summary and conclusion.

The current 4.5 hectares allow for food and economic self-sufficiency of at least 10 families after 7 to 10 years.

Considering the following important clarifications:

  • Family: 2 adults + 2 children;
  • 3 hectares are dedicated to cultivation for commercial economic purposes;
  • 1.5 hectares are dedicated to the edible forest and orchard;
  • Food wholly of vegetable origin;
  • It is understood that the economic self-sufficiency generated by the commercial activity is allocated primarily to the other 2 basic necessities: clothing and housing.
  • Development and production of food for tropical climate.
  • Location of the property: 800 mosl.

This portion of the farm property represents only 11% of what PermaTree will allocate to the development of edible forest and human settlements, being only 6% when compared to the total size of the farm, as well as a large part of the secondary native forest , almost 50%, will remain intact.

List of food components planted / planted in 4.5 Has:

PermaTree Crops

Most important crops, in order of greatest quantity to minor:

  1. Guanabana Annona muricata (Graviola, 3 hectares, own consumption and commercial purpose),
  2. Banana and banana Musa (100 main + children: approx 600 units, 10 with fruits in sight),
  3. Papaya Carica (Mamón, 15 growing trees, 7 with fruits in sight, incalculable seeds scattered),
  4. Chirimoya Annona cherimola (15 young plants),
  5. Yucca Manihot esculenta (Yucca, 20 x 20 m),
  6. Coconut palm Cocos nucifera (40 young plants),
  7. Cacao Theobroma (20 Amazonian natives bearing fruit, 5 grafts bearing fruit),
  8. Pineapple Ananas comosus (Ananá, 40 young plants with complications due to small herbivores such as rabbits),
  9. Avocado Persea americana (Avocado, not yet fruit, 40 between seedlings and young plants),
  10. Corn Zea Mays (30mx15m),
  11. Sweet lemon Citrus limetta (Lima, 5 trees already bearing fruit),
  12. Lemongrass Citrus limonia (acid, 5 trees already bearing fruit),
  13. Orange Citrus sinensis (1 tree bearing fruit, 20 planted),
  14. Mango Mangifera indica (10 trees planted, one adult).
  15. Mandarina Citrus reticulata or mandarin (1 tree bearing fruit, 10 young trees),
  16. Grapefruit Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit, 15 young trees planted),
  17. Frutipan Artocarpus altilis (10 young trees planted),
  18. Grape of Pourouma cecropiifolia (Caimarón, 25 young plants),
  19. Chonta palm tree Bactris gasipaes (Chontaduro, 3 with fruit in sight, 8 young plants),
  20. Rice sativa rice (10 m x 10 m, experimental),
  21. Passion fruit Passiflora edulis (8 m x 10 m),
  22. Yellow Pitahaya Selenicereus megalanthus (Dragonfruit, 10 m x 13 m, approx 40 plants),
  23. Macadamia nut Macadamia integrifolia (5 seedlings),
  24. Carambola Averrhoa carambola (Starfruit, 2 plantines),
  25. Chaya Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (Spinach tree, 4 young plants)
  26. Naranjilla Solanum quitoense (Lulo, 2 young plants with fruit in sight),
  27. Beans adzuki and others Vigna angularis and Phaseolus vulgaris (Beans, experimental row),
  28. Lentils Lens culinaris (experimental row),
  29. Huerta / vegetables: experimental, some cherry tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin, carrot.

Bees: The farm counts on bees that collaborate in the natural process of pollination, favoring the reproduction of the diverse cultivated species. In addition, honey production is planned, which may be for consumption and commercial purposes. The nutritional benefits of honey, summarized in a large contribution of energy through its high carbohydrate content (80%), are not part of this work.

Author: Juan Manuel Esteche
Student of Nutrition at the Barceló Foundation (Bs As, Argentina), and independent researcher. Currently touring South America.

If you are interested in knowing the work in detail, which provides information on the macro (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals and minerals) of each food planted or planted, as well as the variety and quantity exact that you must generate to achieve PRODUCTIVE AND NUTRITIONAL SELF-RESPONSIBILITY, you can send an e-mail to juanesteche80 @ gmail.com.