We have an ambitious and inspirational project which we need your help with! This is a biodiversity and permaculture project on 335 hectares of land in the Colombian cloudforest. The land is located in a critical biodiversity hotspot area in the Andes mountains in Colombia which has been heavily deforested. The land was used for cattle farming and the bare soils are compacted which is causing issues for water drainage and nutrient loss. Approximately 80 hectares of the 335 hectares are cleared and the remaining 250 hectares is forested and very mountainous which is the richest parts of the land for biodiversity (e.g. Andean bear, puma, Yellow eared parrot). Previously caught up in conflict, Colombia is very important for conservation and healing the wounds of conflict among the local rural populations. The project can help to achieve this goal through regenerative farming, biodiversity conservation and environmental education.
What have we already done?
A lot of work has already occurred including planting of 220 fruit trees, 100 nut trees, 900 tall native trees, vegetable beds, 6 orchid nurseries, a fruit and native tree seedling nursery, a worm farm and a waterfall walk as well as a lagoon. In La Libertad a horse named Josefina, two geese, two pigs and three cows as well as some chicken are living peacefully. Currently the project is led by 3 local farmers who work full-time on the land with initial funding and support provided by project partners David and Paul.
What activities will we use the GoFundMe donations for?
The planned activities which the funds will be used for include:
- To extend the orchards, food forest and setup community market gardens.
- Increase orchid nurseries to hold more endangered and endemic species for botany ecotourism and biodiversity education.
- Set up bee husbandry for production of organic honey.
- Fix pathways for hiking, nature observation and birdwatching activities.
- Fix the access road to allow local communities and workers to access easily.
- Fix the homestead to enable ecotourism and education activities.
- Begin planning of Biomimicry structures for a green school where permaculture and sustainability course will be taught in a holistic way.
- Planning for renewable energy systems towards an off-grid goal.
- Planning environmental science research activities as well as environmental education program with participation of local communities and key stakeholders
Your financial support will help us to create a protected area for the re-establishment of critically endangered and endemic orchids, plants and mammals and an educational centre for local communities to gain knowledge and skills in biodiversity conservation and permaculture. We will run annual permaculture education courses at the land to invite local Colombians and international people to learn about the cloudforest and permaculture, contribute to conservation efforts at the land and share valuable information about cloudforests and conservation in Colombia.
What is the overall objective of the project and Why is this project important?
There is no such organisational structures yet in the project so no costs are lost in administration. Everything goes to the community in a bottom up fashion. The project is led by local farmers Gustavo, Derian and Jhon with support and advice provided by Paul Muylaert and David Pond. Paul is a climate change adaptation and environmental campaigner from Belgium who has strong connections to the area, having lived here for several years and David is a development and permaculture practitioner expert with a background in sustainable development and agroecology. One of the main project aims to allow local farming and indigenous communities to collaboratively manage sections of the land to produce food for themselves and provide an income at the same time as increasing skills in agroecology, permaculture, sustainability and enable social capital and resilience. The ultimate aim is to create a green school where environmental education integrates holistically social and emotional skills, systems thinking, indigenous ways of learning, environmental activism, social entrepreneurship and more importantly ecoliteracy so as to reconnect people to the Earth and ecosystems on which our lives depend. We believe that this type of education will be the future way of learning on how to thrive on a changing planet. Also cloudforests are under severe pressure from climate change and deforestation and preserving these rare ecosystems is a driving force for this project. The project has long term aspirations and this head-start will certainly help these objectives to get going. Any help will be welcome and contribute directly to achieve the goals of this project.
Link to Facebook group
Link to Instagram
Derian from Cali region, project leader, planting avocados.
Jhon Installing the frame for one of the orchid houses.
Gustavo, project leader and former local coffee farmer with a huge amount of local knowledge on plants, soils, diseases and weather.
Initial planting of the orchard.
Orchids forming the centrepiece of an orchid house.
View of the western extent of the land. The waterfall walk is at the base of this ravine.
View from a drone of the first orchard planted east of the house.
View from a drone of an orchid house.
View from a drone of the house showing vegetable patch at the top and the nursery at the bottom of photo.
Vegetable and herb gardens established behind the house.
The road to the get to the land. The 4WD is packed with trees, stakes and other materials.
Permaculture plan for the site, developed in January 2017.
Initial plans for the biomimicry structures which will host the educational courses.
- S. Astacianna Hatcher
- Ratih Eka Pertiwi
- Rie Omi
- Astrid Sébastien Biondo
- Laurence Muylaert
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