Time and again, SEKEM is asked whether the SEKEM model can be copied and adopted elsewhere in the world. The answer is always: no. SEKEM thrives on liveliness, constant development and reacting to circumstances and developments. Instead of a copy, SEKEM wants to be an inspiration, share experiences and multiply them in a network. In recent times, such networking activities and SEKEM’s power of inspiration are particularly evident in Brazil. Recently, we have already reported on SEKEM’s partner initiative Sinal do Vale in São Paulo; and there is another current project in the South American country that is working in the same spirit: the ART project. Project director Manfred von Osterroht reports for SEKEM News on the exciting initiative for regenerative agriculture.
Our original question was: What does agriculture look like that is relevant to the tropics and can work creatively in the climate crisis? How can this agriculture be so productive at the same time that it is of burning interest to farmers? And how can anthroposophical impulses help us in this? Together with two other biodynamic farmers we developed the ART project. ART stands for Agrikultur Regenerativ Tropisch (Regenerative Tropical Agriculture). It was important to us that the form of agriculture can be practically demonstrated in a place that is already overheated; that it takes into account current research and can be objectively evaluated; and that the demonstration farm attracts young people through events, courses and practical training.
Healing agriculture where the climate crisis is already striking
We started in December 2019 and to date we have already seen encouraging results. We have been able to achieve rich yields with trial plantings. The focus on strengthening the vitality of the whole landscape proved to be heat-resistant. Innovations such as replacing traditional livestock with trees and shrubs, and using broadleaf weeds as companion plants also proved to be fertility-contributors in the right place and at the right time. However, ART will also be of great benefit in non-tropical landscapes. In fact, everywhere where the climate crisis is already striking. This is another reason why we want to bring as many people as possible to us and to become a learning farm. For this purpose, we have founded the Finca Sabores. Here we want to teach how an abundance of nutrition crops can strengthen the landscape and heal the climate with the help of trees.
The ART project needs support
But Finca Sabores is still under construction and the necessary means of production are not yet complete. For example, to produce vegetables regeneratively in the dry season, we need an irrigation system. This is our next goal and we are grateful for any support to realise it.
The ART project can be supported through a project fund of the Stiftung Freie Gemeinschaftsbank in Basel.