Syntropic Agroforestry Course 15th- 19th March – 2022

Course led by Felipe Amato former student of Ernst Götsch and hosted by Davi Leon at Hazel and Davi’s Wicklow Farm. You can register through the National Organic Training Skillnet. Discounted fee through NOTS €300. Full fee €500, if you don’t qualify for the discount, get in touch through our contact page.

The Course will be divided into theoretical morning classes and a practical afternoon of work. 5 days to cover the basics of Syntropic Agroforestry and to plant the placenta (embryo or beginning) of a Pear and Plum forest, with an abundant under story.

Teabreaks and Lunch included. All organic and much of the food produced at the farm

What is Syntropic Agroforestry? 

– Agricultural systems inspired by the local and original ecosystems of  any given place, allowing the production of food, timber, fibres and any  other farming activities. 

– Very diverse and dense forest systems that allow for continuous  harvests of crops, while sustaining healthy soil with little to no  dependency on external inputs. 

What Will Participants Learn On the Course?

  • The history and principles of syntropic agroforestry;
  • How to implement and manage syntropic agroforestry systems;
  • How to harmonize these systems with nature’s patterns (sun, wind, topography, local flora, etc.);
  • How to choose appropriate plant consortium to each stage and soil condition of the system, based on the natural succession and stratification;
  • How to choose and plan the production of value added produce;
  • Strata: How plants behave in their environment. Considering the quantity and quality of light that the plants need to be healthy;
  • Natural succession: How the system develops through succeeding plants, and how long it takes them to reach their full life cycle or how long it takes until they reach maturity in their stratum;
  • Mulching: The importance of keeping the soil covered with organic matter and how to plant a system whilst always keeping the soil covered;
  • Planting: practical implementation of planting planning on the field.

Day 1 – Introduction to syntropic agroforestry; soil production processes in nature – Agriculture practiced in Brazil by indigenous people before colonization, contact with Europeans and transformation of agricultural practices; – The development of Ernst Gotsch’s work; – Entropic x Syntropic Processes. – The organization of these processes by nature, and it’s the way create a forest. – From rock to soil: how soil and soil horizons form, and the role of life in this process; – The path of nutrients: organic matter or the sea; – The organic matter in agriculture; – The importance of disturbance, in the forest and in agriculture.

Day 2-3 – Natural Succession & Stratification – Systems of colonization, accumulation and abundance; – Vector quality and quantity of consolidated life; – Stratification: set formed by position in succession + stratum (need for light) + size (height) – Application of Succession & Stratification in agriculture, from placentas to climax

Day 4 – Ecological interactions & Ecophysiological functions – Pollination and seed dispersal; – Co-evolution of species and ecosystems – Elements of disturbance – Department of life’s process optimization (pests and diseases)

Day 5 – Design elements – Practical design exercise

– Felipe Amato Born in São Paulo, Felipe graduated with a higher diploma in Philosophy at PUC-SP. He began his research on autonomy techniques in 2003, studying bio-construction techniques, water treatment and sanitation, food production, among others. Since 2008, it has focused its efforts on the optimization of local resources and agricultural production without the use of agrochemicals. Two years later he became acquainted with the Swiss farmer and researcher Ernst Götsch, and since then he has participated in several courses and internships with him on his farm in the southern state of Bahia, on the Toca farm, in the state of São Paulo, and at the São Sebastião farm in Rio de Janeiro. Thus, using the principles of agroecology and syntopic agriculture, it aims at the creation of production systems that have a minimal dependence on external inputs such as fertilizers and even irrigation. Between 2012 and 2014 he was the instructor of the courses and coordinator of the agroecology sector of Escola da Terra, a free school based in the municipality of Pedro de Toledo – SP, which aims to spread ecological and sustainable techniques. In 2015 it had the first contact with the European climate and ecosystems, and since then it has been dedicated to the application of the principles already used in Brazil, also in temperate and Mediterranean contexts. In recent years it has provided technical assistance services to agroecological producers and other properties with or without commercial purposes, in addition to conducting its own production, previously in leased areas, and from 2017 in its own area, located in the municipality of Mogi das Cruzes – SP.

Hazel and Davi have been studying Syntropic Agroforestry since the end of 2016 and in 2019 started a Community Supported Agriculture scheme in Wicklow producing vegetables for local families and shops. They have planted the very first Syntropic Agroforestry system in Ireland in march 2020, pioneering trials for commercial systems to the Irish temperate climate. Davi will also be facilitating during the course.