Kew Gardens is the world’s largest collection of living plants, founded in 1840 from the exotic garden at Kew Park in London, UK. It exists as a living collection of more than 30,000 different kinds of plants. The herbarium, which is one of the largest in the world, has over seven million preserved plant specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants. It is one of London’s top tourist attractions. In 2003, the gardens were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. We are working in partnership with Kew Gardens to establish new projects in Madagascar and the Congo.
Our work at the Inga Foundation is based on Inga Alley Cropping, a sustainable alternative to slash-and-burn farming. As Inga species are only native to South and Central America, it would be highly irresponsible to introduce Inga as an exotic elsewhere in the world. Therefore, in order to expand our work to other regions of the tropics, we must first identify local species that can play the same role as Inga does in Central and South America. The knowledge and experience of Kew Gardens have been hugely valuable in this regard in both Madagascar and the Congo.
As well as being Cornwall’s most famous eco-tourism attraction, The Eden Project is also a charity and social enterprise. The Inga Foundation’s Director, Mike Hands, has had links with Eden for a number of years. Most recently, the Eden Project has created an exhibit exploring Inga Alley Cropping in their Tropical Biome. The Inga trees used were grown from seeds which Mike brought back from Honduras in April 2012. After 6 months in quarantine, the young Inga trees were planted out in alleys in the Tropical Biome the following autumn and they are now flourishing. You can read Eden’s blog about creating the exhibit here.
The Funding Network enables individuals to join together to crowdfund charities and projects. They aim to create social change through collective giving and have been described as a friendly Dragons’ Den for charities. The Funding Network has supported our work on more than one occasion and provided the funding to purchase the land for our farm and Project Centre in Honduras. The Project Center is a key part of our long-term plan to expand our work to tackle slash-and-burn across Central America. Work on the Project Center is making great progress so far – see our Land for Life project page to find out all the exciting developments taking place there.
Notion Pictures is a production company established in 2007 by Adam Wakeling to explore the big environmental and social issues of our times. Notion Pictures created Up In Smoke – the multi award-winning documentary following our Director, Mike Hands, and his 25-year struggle to halt slash and burn.
In 2012, Adam Wakeling also produced five short films for Oxfam’s GROW campaign, illustrating how Inga Alley Cropping can have huge benefits for both people and the environment. Most recently, Adam has created a ‘How To’ film which demonstrates how to use the Inga Alley Cropping method. The film has been dubbed into multiple languages and will be used to help spread knowledge of Inga Alley Cropping to more slash-and-burn farmers across Central and South America.
In the past we have been supported by Artist Project Earth. APE funds projects around the world that work to combat climate change and develop local solutions; they have contributed funds to support our work in Honduras. Visit the Inga Foundation page on the APE website.