Report From The Field: Growing Pineapples With Local Communities
Text by Alan Chumbe
The Amazon rainforest is a great example of symbiosis, where every part plays an important role in the functioning of this living system. This happens at all ecological levels of the forest in a natural way. But what happens when the “natural” is not the optimal, when this symbiosis can be improved without altering the landscape? This can be achieved by enriching the forest or chacras (“food gardens”) with species of significant ecological, social and economic value for Amazonian rural populations.
The Chaikuni Institute’s Permaculture team was delighted to recently donate twelve baby pineapples or “mashquis” (a local word using to designate young plants) to families in the community of Tres Unidos as part of our outreach work with local communities. In accordance with nature’s processes, introducing species to new environments must take into consideration the qualities and potentialities of the land and the species. The good drainage qualities of the nutrient-poor sandy soils in the area from the community of Tres Unidos create good conditions for the growth of pineapples which enjoy well drained soils.
Considered the third most consumed tropical fruit in the world, the pineapple represents an opportunity to generate economic income for rural families, and to continue with the process of diversifying their crops as part of their chacras, a process which Chaikuni’s Permaculture team is closely accompanying with expert advice, monitoring as well as workshops.
As part of revaluing the beliefs and customs of local inhabitants, most of the pineapples were sown in accordance to a particular time of the lunar cycle – the fifth day after a full moon.
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