“Mike Hands -no 44 in top 100 contributors to ‘saving the planet.’”
Our Director Mike Hands has been working to halt the destruction of the rainforest for over 20 years. He established the Inga Foundation to help spread the sustainable agriculture system of Inga alley cropping which he developed after years of scientific research into slash and burn agriculture. Through the Inga Foundation he is now working closely with the local communities in Honduras to implement this new system.
He has now established a number of working farms with locals who have been won over, albeit slowly, when they see the benefits of the system. As Mike explains, the farmers interests were initially caught by the weed suppression of Inga trees. Once one farmer was convinced, others became curious when they saw the successful harvest produced on land that would normally have been exhausted and infertile.
These campesinos are naturally cautious, slow to trust something new with so much at stake, especially when suggested by gringo! And there is nothing more likely to slow the spread of the idea than a well-meaning gringo forcing ideas onto people and hectoring locals. Therefore Mike, as a Cornish farmer as well as ecologist, always emphasises the importance of establishing trust and understanding and working together with the local people.