A bit of my Story
I am no different than the majority of humanity these days, coming from the heavily populated city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, nature was not something that was around me much and food was the thing we bought in the supermarket!!
But for some reason, I’ve always found myself in the mud puddles, rolling in the dirt or grassy ground and putting unidentified grubs in my mouth... seems like I’ve grown a taste for nature after all!!
Nature has always brought me numerous questions and puzzles, which, after landing in Australia a week short of my 18th birthday in 2001, drove me to an apparent endless academic journey, to try and understand its mysteries and intricacies. A bachelor of environmental science brought me general concepts but nothing tangible. A Master's in environmental planning allowed me to see that the environment is not really part of the decision-making process. And finally, a PhD in urban agriculture put the nail in the coffin - humanity has no idea about how to take natural systems into proper consideration, despite our imminent dependence on it!!
A light was shown when I met Permaculture in 2005, and for the first time, natural systems were at the heart of decision-making and reality started to make sense, but it was very difficult to bring permaculture to fruition in the urban areas where I was living. It sounded amazingly, awesomely, incredibly real but not quite tangible for my context. After all, I had no land to dig swales, no bamboo to build compost toilets and no skills to do wonders with the falling rain…
Oh well, my search continued, often with more questions than answers, but slowly I started to realise that in the activity of growing food many of my concerns were being dissolved. Something just happens when my hand touches the soil (even if it was store-bought potting mix) to plant my food, which coupled with the regular watering and interactions, almost out of nowhere, ideas (and answers) started to emerge...!!!
I came across Syntropic Agriculture in 2016, soon after the release of the Life in Syntropy documentary, although I had come across the work of Ernst Gotsch in 2005 when I was doing many Permaculture courses in my sabbatical year back in Brazil.
I soon got on the plane back home (3 times in one year in fact, oops!!) and made sure I'd visited as many established syntropic farms as possible and learnt from the very best, these included - Ernst Gotsch, Patricia Vaz, Henrique Souza, Jua Pereira, Romulo Araujo, Namaste Messerschmitt, Fabiana Penereiro and many others.
Such inspiration culminated with a collaboration with Scott Hall where we started the first Syntropic Farm in Australia, called Gabalah Farm, in Chillingham, NSW. In another collaborative venture, this time with Tiago Barbosa, we brought Syntropic Farming to Australia officially, when we ran 3 in depth courses at St. Helena, on the hinterland of Byron Bay, ministered by Patricia Vaz and Namaste Messerschmitt - what amazingly powerful courses these were!!
From then on, my mission became to understand the theory and practices of successional agroforestry (which you can only fully understand by doing), and how to adapt it to the Australian socio-environmental-economic context, which is vastly different from Brazil - as you can imagine!!
This mission has culminated in another fruitful collaboration, where my partner and I were welcomed onto a friend’s piece of land in Uki, NSW. Since December 2018, we’ve been working hard to not only regenerate a severely degraded land, where only bracken ferns grew, but also provide food for our subsistence and harvest much knowledge of the intricacies of playing with plants and other creatures.
This journey, which also consisted of countless courses and trainings, has culminated into a holistic approach to understanding and participating with Nature. Through an integrative approach, I am certain that every human being on this planet, regardless of their climatic conditions or skill levels, is able to make decisions and take purposeful action towards regeneration, food security and a renewal of the human spirit.
What brings us together is the consciousness that we are separate.