Regenerative Agriculture

Syntropy [sin´trah-pe]: The state of harmonious association with others.

What is regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is a farming method that leaves the soil richer than it was before every sequential harvest, by means of regeneration.

Regeneration is achieved through various natural methods that enable life to thrive inside the soil. By increasing the soil quality, plants will be healthier, more resilient against diseases and produce larger yields. 

This is a sharp turn around from all conventional methods, that unintentionally kill many soil microorganisms and deteriorates soil quality to such an extent that will ultimately lead to depletion, leaving it useless for any form of food production. These unproductive plots will often be discarded, and are prone to desertification due to the lack of canopy, which forms a natural shield against incoming solar heat & radiation.

Orenda Foundation Curacao

Syntropic agroforestry as a regenerative agriculture method

Syntropic agroforestry is a relatively new method of regenerative agriculture that has deep roots in permaculture and can be adapted to any scale and any climatic region: from small backyard plots to large commercial farms, from tropical conditions to as far north as Finland. 

The word syntropy is derived from the words syn (Ancient Greek for converging) and tropos (Ancient Greek for tendency), to describe the ever complexifying nature of a healthy ecosystem, given that the right conditions are present. 

Syntropic agroforestry requires specific knowledge by the manager, whose role is to design and maintain the plot. The manager has to adhere to a number of guiding principles that are aimed at providing the best conditions for life to thrive on the plot. These are:

  1. No bare soil – Keep the soil covered to prevent overheating and evaporation;
  2. Optimize photosynthesis – Absorb as much incoming solar radiation as possible;
  3. Pruning (“chop and drop”) – By constantly pruning, plants will grow faster and stronger;
  4. Stratification – Usage of different layers of plants to create inner water-cycles between plants;
  5. Succession – Plant species that succeed each other over time;
  6. High diversity – Plant many species together;
  7. High density – Plant many individuals together.
 

If these principles are properly implemented and maintained, the plot will move towards syntropy.

Regenerative agriculture Curacao

Regenerative agriculture as a support against climate change

Regenerative and syntropic agriculture systems generate a plethora of benefits for mankind and nature, and can be seen as important methods to mitigate climate change impacts as well as achieve the SDG’s

Other than producing highly nutritious and healthy food, these systems have the capacity to sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it in the soil. Also, the abundant canopy cover will contribute to cooling and water retention.