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FARFARM, Brazil

  • Definition
    Devising project idea, defining the aim and main components
  • Design
    Specifying details such as time-frame, budget, target indicators, project partners and relevant steps to reach the project objectives
  • Financing
    Searching and securing funding and investment, setting up relevant financing partnerships, and discussing payment modalities
  • Implementation
    Execution of feasibility studies, context analysis, plot design, planting and setting up facilities and starting with potential capacity-building
  • Maintenance
    Operational phase (monitoring and evaluation, impact assessments and adjustments, execution of educational programmes and long-term capacity building)
  • Scaling Up
    Scaling up phase is when the project it has already shown success by obtaining impact as well as economic results and it's ready to become replicable.

In Santa Bárbara do Pará, burning the forest to produce cassava, palm oil, or bananas is a traditional practice and thought to be a winning game for farmers. However, that is not the case. In this project, we developed a Model Farm where we test and research multiple natural fibers (e.g. cotton and jute) integrated into one agroforestry design together with our partner Farfarm. It is also used as a Model School to educate farmers on agroforestry practices. This way, an income opportunity for farmers is devised by substituting deforestation-driven activities. Now, it is time to support more farmers in adopting the approach. Planting trees on their land will support nature, increase food security, and boost farm profitability.

Deforestation caused by farming

The communities of Santa Barbara live in remote forest villages in the Brazilian Amazon. Many of their inhabitants rely on farming for survival. However, that is largely done in conventional systems – monocultures. 

Due to their inefficiency, these farming practices cause farmers to continuously clear new areas of pristine forests to make more space. In their eyes, more land equals more crops which results in higher total yields. 

Yet, this expansion leads to an acceleration of deforestation rates. At the same time, the income generated per plot of land is low and the farmers’ living conditions remain poor. There is a need for better income opportunities harmonizing with nature and providing decent work.

The organic ground cover protects the soil from drying out and provides a food source for its crucial living organisms

reNature’s alternative

Together with the farmers and our local partner Farfarm, reNature has started to work out a more efficient farming system that increases a farm’s profitability without having to expand its scale. Further, it enables the supply of multiple commodities from one farming plot.

We have developed a Model Farm to test and fine-tune different designs. While these all center around the production of cotton and other natural fibers, farmers can choose between additional ‘by-products’ such as cassava and pineapples in the early stages and passion fruit or moringa in later years.

1st

Amazonian fashion

1 ha

of regenerative cotton

32

families

Making a case for agroforestry cotton

Farmers will be able to choose between desired food crops which increases their sense of ownership. Enhanced working opportunities at home will prevent their children from moving to the cities. Those positive developments will inspire more farmers to adopt the practices who will be able to acquire the necessary skills through workshops & courses

Further, the project will demonstrate that it is possible to preserve nature while generating a decent income from farming. It will be shown that the fashion industry can play a vital role in conserving the Amazon, producing sustainable fibers, and improving farmer livelihoods.

The Model Farm during the planting days

Cotton from a healthy bottom

Our cotton agroforestry system utilizes biomass for ground cover ‘feeding’ the soil and its living organisms. This way, the need for synthetic fertilizers is eliminated. They also require no pesticides and fewer water inputs. In short, they create healthy, regenerated soil holding water like a sponge.

The trees and the soil regulate the microclimate and store carbon, thus, contributing to the mitigation of climate change and the preservation of vital rainfalls. Moreover, the non-existence of pesticides and the diversity of plants and crops on our farm supports all forms of life and leads to increased biodiversity in the area.

Our cotton agroforestry system is characterized by diversity and organic ground cover feeding the soil and supporting various forms of life

‘Amazonian Fashion’ from Amazonian farmers

This project will provide decent working opportunities and increase the food security of 32 community members as agroforestry systems can produce food next to cotton. Due to the diminished pesticide use, negative health impacts are averted. Further, agroforestry landscapes and its trees are aesthetically appealing and have an augmented recreational value.

The farmers are granted with a resilient, sustainable income source, whilst diversifying their income. Our agroforestry system increases farm productivity and reduces input costs as there are no more fertilizer and pesticide purchases needed.

Planting a Model Farm is a social event

Another strength of this project is the fact that it generates an added value for sold cotton through an existing link to the fashion market. An ‘Amazonian Fashion’ stamp on the final product will showcase its sustainability value in the future.

This is expected to create further economic incentives for the brands. It will provide consumers with an opportunity to reforest the Amazon through their purchase.

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Journal

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The good thing about Agroforestry is that it helps to accomplish most of the challenges of climate change. Yet despite all of its advantages, agroforestry is st...
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Fashion: Rapid growth that comes at a cost

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