2019 was a year full of growth and accomplishments for our Institute. We invite you to re-live this year with us through this wonderfully illustrated report, offering a summary of our achievements and stunning photos from our activities and our beautiful Amazon region.
Letter from the Director
The Amazon in flames! These images have certainly burned themselves into our collective memory as the unprecedented fires in the Amazon were widely reported by international media in August last year. Increased droughts caused by a changing climate may have been a cause for some of the unprecedented fires that also occurred in many other forests of the world. Yet, last year in the Amazon, especially in Brazil, the fires were deliberately set by those working for agri-business and cattle ranchers eager to expand their operations, fueled by the predatory and ruthless policies of the current government.
Here too, in the Peruvian Amazon, seeing patches of forest razed to the ground and then lit on fire is a familiar sight. This common agricultural practice known as slash-and-burn is applied by the large majority of both small and large scale farmers.
At Chaikuni Institute we teach a regenerative and diverse agroforestry system called the chacra integral. One of its main characteristics involves no burning. Instead, the selectively cut vegetation is left on the ground, maintaining nutrients in the bio-mass and mimicking the natural cycles of the rainforest ecosystem. Besides its myriad ecological and economic benefits to local communities as well as the global community, a chacra integral is a great way to avoid fires, because 1) no burning is included in this process, and 2) as a healthy and intact tropical rainforest system, it is so humid that it is far more resilient to the spread of fires.
While it has been another turbulent year in Peru’s political realm, with President Vizcarra dissolving the congress and calling for new elections, among other events, for us at Chaikuni, 2019 was a year of growth and many highlights where we implemented a number of initiatives we had long envisioned. Among others, we finally organized our first Permaculture Design Course for local farmers, indigenous students, and Shipibo herbalists. After an arduous selection process, we won a major grant allowing us to expand our agro-forestry work in 2020. Finally, we’ve continued our alignment process, further defining our organizational blueprint. As we will share with you on the following pages, we now have an exciting, newly-formulated vision for our world ten years from now.
We truly hope that you share our excitement and that this vision and the achievements that we present to you in this report inspire you as much as they inspire us. We will continue to give our all to make this vision a reality and invite you to continue to be a part of the movement.