Success through Cooperation: Is Syntropic Farming the way of the Future?
It has long been understood that forest plants engage in behaviours that are symbiotic in nature; that is, a lot more cooperation occurs than it appears on the surface, where the untrained observer may regard the interaction as a fight-to--finish; cut-throat competition over limited resources. One farming technique, known as syntropic farming, is taking advantage of these characteristics. Its gaining ground in various tracts along the Queensland coast as a means to foster resilience in the face of extraordinary weather events, promote nutrient cycling as well as moderate access to sunlight. Carefully planned, syntropic installations more than make up for higher start-up costs by building upon a solid foundation to withstand strong winds, pest attack and unfavourable temperatures.
The technique is predominantly credited to Swiss farmer Ernst Gotsch, who began employing the method in Brazil in 1984. It has now found its way to Queensland, Australia, where avocados, limes, bananas and paw paws grow alongside eucalyptus trees; quite the eclectic collection. Projects such as these demonstrate the tremendous success that can be attained by thinking "outside the box" and, in particular, questioning the wisdom of large-scale monoculture as the sole means to produce food.
ABC Rural (Cluff, R. & Major, T.) 2018. "Brazilian food forests take root in Australia, helping growers save water and control pests" [Online]. Last Accessed: 19.07.18. http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-07-13/syntropic-farming-food-forests-take-root-in-australia/9986016