For years peasant farmers in tropical America have exhausted their lands in order to grow enough crop to physically survive. Because it was vital to find a way to create a sustainable system to reduce the destruction of rainforest and for the survival of the peasants, Mike Hands founded the Inga Foundation.
Over the last 20 years The Inga Foundation researched and developed many different approaches for a sustainable cropping system, which would in turn also provide sustainable livelihood-opportunities for the farmers. The Inga Foundation’s primary goal is empowerment and autonomy for these campesinos, to allow them to develop a productive holding which can not only sustain them nutritionally, but can lift them beyond mere subsistence level into a commercial strata by producing cash crops to enrich their lives materially.
After years of research they developed the system of Alley-cropping. The genus Inga trees where found to be the most productive to use because the tough mulch derived from nitrogen-fixing trees of the genus Inga provides nutrition for the exhausted soils, amongst many other benefits such as low expenses and edible fruits. Alley-cropping with Inga has proved itself to be an outstanding success.
In demonstration farms Campesino farmers were shown the various systems in use for basic grains (e.g. maize, beans, etc.) and for cash-crops such as black-pepper, pineapple, vanilla, etc. With this system the precious rainforest, vital for its huge bio-diversity and role in carbon sequestration is saved.
“The tropical equivalent of turning water into wine.”
"The Inga Foundation has found a solution for some of the biggest environmental problems we face, and deserves global recognition and support."