Slash and burn farming is one of the major contributors to deforestation and global warming. It sits at the crossroads of two of the greatest threats to global stability: accelerating climate change and diminishing food security.
The Inga Foundation grew out of a long term scientific research project into slash and burn agriculture and what alternative agriculture systems could be developed to help prevent farmers having to clear new areas of rainforest year after year, just to survive.
The Inga Foundation now works to help communities and farmers in Honduras, as well as elsewhere in the world, change from slash and burn to the one sustainable system that emerged from years of research; Inga Alley Cropping.
Board of Trustees:
The Inga Foundation Board is made up of experts in tropical ecology who, between them, have over 150 years of experience.
- Michael Hands, Senior Research Associate, Univ. of Cambridge (1988-2002), UK.
- Dr. Tim Bayliss-Smith, Univ. of Cambridge. UK
- Dr. Terence Pennington, Honorary Fellow Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. UK
- William Vanderbilt, Chair of the Vanderbilt Family Foundation, USA
Up In Smoke: One Man’s Burning Issue
One of the best ways to gain a real insight into the heart and history of the Inga Foundation is through Up In Smoke, a feature-length documentary by Adam Wakeling that spans a three year segment of the Inga Foundation’s work. It follows Mike Hands, our founder, as he works to connect with and convince local farmers to make the leap from slash and burn to Inga alley cropping, and his struggle to bring the issue of slash and burn farming to the forefront of ecological thinking.
The Inga Foundation has come a long way since the film was completed. We have had some important successes and now have more projects, more funding and, crucially, far more farmers involved and practicing alley cropping.
But this is just the start, we still have a long way to go. Alley cropping has the potential to transform the lives of slash and burn farmers across the tropics. We are working hard to realise that potential and are making significant progress, however we still face some key obstacles, especially in terms of funding.
Up in Smoke Trailer
“Up In Smoke follows British scientist Mike Hands, who has laboured for 25 years to find a solution to replacing slash & burn agriculture in equatorial rainforests.
And he’s found it.
But perfecting this novel technique, called ‘alley cropping’, is only the start. Now he needs to persuade governments, agencies and, more important than anyone else, the farmers.
This is a film about a struggle for our future. About the heroic, sometimes quixotic, mission of Mike Hands to get people to understand his revolutionary method. It’s about the life and death struggle of impoverished farmers who can’t afford to risk adopting a new farming method. It’s a film about our driving need to change what’s happening to the planet’s rainforests, and about the pressures that may prevent that change from happening.
Mike Hands has a solution, but is the world ready to listen?
We follow three principal characters: Mike Hands himself, and two Honduran farmers, Faustino and Aladino, one of whom has adopted Mike’s technique, the other waiting to be convinced.
Filmed over 3 years, the film moves between the UK and Honduras on a dramatic path that leads eventually to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009. We get to see the proof of alley cropping, but will proof be enough to trigger real change? Politics has its own ways of interfering with the science.”
(You can visit the official film website at www.upinsmoke.tv)