The Inga Foundation / Land For Life: The Inga Tree Model for Food Security, Saving Rainforests, & Carbon Reduction
Inga alley-cropping is an alternative to the slash-and-burn agriculture. It provides food security for farmers while also protecting the environment.
Inga alley-cropping is a scientifically proven solution for stopping the practice of slash-and-burn of tropical rainforests and switching to sustainable agriculture. Their project in Honduras, named Land for Life, has been in place for 9 years and has exceeded all the goals: it has transformed the lives of more than 300 families, regenerated 2,600 acres of degraded land, planted over 3 million trees, and sequestered/avoided 240,000 tons of CO2.
Inga alley-cropping anchors a family to a single plot of land, eliminating their dependence on slash-and-burn. The entire family works together with the Honduran project team, receiving training and the initial 5000 Inga seeds for planting a hectare in hedgerows 2 and 13 feet apart. Crops are planted in the alleys between the trees and, after 1-2 years, the alleys are pruned with the assistance of the team. The trees have grown to 20 feet and are pruned back to 5 feet with the branches supplying a year’s worth of firewood and the leaves, a soil-protecting mulch. Crops are again planted between the rows and shaded as the trees regrow. After the crops have matured, they are harvested and the cycle repeats.
Their Vision for the Future
In the future envisaged by Inga Foundation, sustainable agriculture alternatives will tackle social, economic, and environmental issues. Long-term organic food security will be ensured to families, while the environment will also be protected, re-creating forest cover over entire landscapes and avoiding habitat destruction.