Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Juan Anton and his Edible Forest

[Permaculture Principles] 78 year old Juan Anton Mora runs 40 minutes several times a week. What is his secret? A healthy lifestyle and a wish to change the world must have played their part. Because the purpose of each of his actions is to “change the world”, or to be more precise, to fight hunger in the world. No less.
30 years ago, Juan bought a small plot planted with orange trees in Alzira, Valencia in Spain. He followed advice given by the conventional styled gardener who was taking care of the field at that time… who proposed a weedkiller that would kill the grass for 8 years. Juan Anton decided to stop using chemicals and the gardener decided to quit. A few months after, the grass grew back, the trees starve. It’s a disaster.
“I started to study Mother Earth’s working, I’ve been to ecological classes and a permaculture class. I bought some Fukuoka’s books. Then I started to apply what I learned.” He started to put cut grass at the trees base, so it turns into compost. It has taken a few month for the trees to grow again, after the microorganisms killed by chemicals came back and life returned to the soil.
Juan planted new trees: bananas, walnuts, almonds, figs, olives, peaches and many others. He created his edible forest guided by permaculture principles. Its goal is to have the best productivity with the minimum of work. Today, the bulk of the work is to recover production.
Juan Anton’s forest proves it: the trees are healthy and the fruits are delicious. Some simple principles explain this success, for instance about orange trees diseases: “These orange trees are healthy only because the ground is healthy. Chemicals fertilizer make the sap sweet, which increase the risk of disease.”
Today, Juan is looking to find an easy way to produce vegetables all year long. He builds homemade greenhouses with local materials, like bamboo, old fridge, picked up branches. The wall inside the main greenhouse was built with stones from the surrounding forest. He uses it to catch the warmth during the day and give it back during the night so the plants won’t freeze during winter. Read More