Land For Life: Organic, Regenerative Agroforestry for 100% Food Security with the Inga Tree Model

Mike Hands
Publicado: 30 Julio 2021
Última edición: 30 Julio 2021
remove_red_eye 2234 Vistas


Since 2012, the Inga Foundation’s simple agroforestry system of Inga Alley Cropping has empowered 300+ families who have planted over 4 million trees dramatically transforming their lives.The ability of the resilient Inga tree to anchor, enrich, and regenerate depleted soil provides food security with 100% success for families with 2 year-old alleys. These fast-growing native Inga species which fix nitrogen in the soil  provide organic cash crops as well as significantly reduce global carbon emissions, protect wildlife and marine habitats, preserve water sources and yield a year’s worth of firewood. The basic grains/cash crops are grown without herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or heavy equipment.  Inga seedlings are planted in rows on steep, degraded slopes and require no technology or heavy equipment.  The Model positively addressing 11 of the 17 United Nations SDGs with NO NEGATIVE IMPACT whatsoever on the remaining 6.


América Central
Scale of implementation
Acceso y participación en los beneficios
Actores locales
Adaptación al cambio climático
Conectividad / conservación transfronteriza
Conocimientos tradicionales
Fragmentación del hábitat y degradación
Incorporación de la perspectiva de género
Institucionalización de la biodiversidad
Manejo de bosques
Mitigación del cambio climático
Poblaciones indígenas
Prevención de erosión
Reducción de desastres
Other theme
Co2 sequestration/avoidance
Families not forced to become climate refugees
Lluvia errática
Calor extremo
Degradación de tierras y bosques
Pérdida de ecosistemas
Contaminación (incluida la eutrofización y la basura)
Desarrollo de Infraestructura
Falta de acceso a financiación a largo plazo
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Desempleo / pobreza
Sustainable development goals
ODS 1 - Fin de la pobreza
ODS 2 - Hambre cero
ODS 3 - Salud y bienestar
ODS 4 - Educación de calidad
ODS 5 - Igualidad de género
ODS 7 - Energía asequible y no contaminante
ODS 8 - Trabajo decente y crecimiento económico
ODS 11 - Ciudades y comunidades sostenibles
ODS 12 - Producción y consumo responsables
ODS 13 - Acción por el clima
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
Aichi targets
Meta 1: Aumento de la sensibilization sobre la biodiversidad
Meta 2: Valores de biodiversidad integrados
Meta 4: Producción y consumo sostenibles
Meta 5: Pérdida de hábitat reducida a la mitad o reducida
Meta 7: Agricultura, acuicultura y silvicultura
Meta 8: Reducción de la contaminación
Meta 11: Áreas protegidas y conservadas
Meta 12: Reducir el riesgo de extinción
Meta 13: Protección de la diversidad genética
Meta 14: Los servicios ecosistemicos
Meta 15: Restauración de ecosistemas y resiliencia
Meta 17: Estrategias y planes de acción para la biodiversidad
Meta 18: Conocimiento tradicional
Meta 20: Movilización de recursos de todas las fuentes
Marco de Sendai
Meta 2: Reducir el número de personas afectadas a nivel global para 2030
Meta 3: Reducir las pérdidas económicas directas por desastre en relación al PIB para 2030
Meta 4: Reducir los daños de desastres a la infraestructura crítica y los trastornos a los servicios básicos como las instalaciones educativas y de salud, incluyendo el desarrollo de su resiliencia para 2030.
Meta 5: Incrementar el número de países con estrategias nacionales y locales para la reducción de riesgos para el 2020.
Meta 6: Incrementar la cooperación hacia países en desarrollo a través de apoyo adecuado y sustentable a fin de complementar sus acciones


Atlántida, Honduras


FINANCIAL-Nature-based solutions face the reality that less than 3% of public investors support agroecology.
WEATHER-The Inga alleys have survived back-to-back hurricanes with no damage, 8 inches of rain falling in 18 hours, and 7 months of drought. The trees and thick mulch stop all erosion and mudslides and several dozen springs have appeared in established alleys.

COVID-19-Training is entirely outdoors with an entire family participating so the foresters/field technicians are able to wear masks and train/plant seedlings with the family at their plot. With military lockdown, we are fortunate there is only a delay in training new families at the farm.


Rural, subsistence farming families achieve true sustainability-eliminating their dependence on slash-and-burn and they are not forced to become climate refugees.


¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

The Wikipedia entry on Land Degradation says: 

"It is estimated that up to 40% of the world's agricultural land is seriously degraded." 

Small-scale farmers in developing countries are already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, yet they have received little of the promised funding to help them adapt to degraded land, drought, flooding, and heat.
Now in year 10, the resilient Inga Tree Model, with its integrated benefits, fulfills the primary needs of subsistence farmers by providing sustainable agriculture with no barriers. No group has ever been turned down to receive instruction. The grassroots program provides training and planting assistance as an alternative to slash-and-burn without debt, and families who see the program are eager to participate, learn from each other, and pay it forward--giving farmers the power to regenerate historically degraded soil on long-deforested hillslopes with a multiplier effect, spreading agroecology knowledge and experiences with full participation for women and young people.


Inga Alley Cropping- model of sustainable best practice in rural livelihoods

  • Environmental--stopping slash-and-burn agriculture in the humid tropics (practiced by 200 million smallholders) with a proven alternative (Inga Alley Cropping) which promotes local practices, native seed, organic food sources, and knowledge while adapting to climate crisis conditions; sequestering and avoiding massive amounts ofCO2; regenerating steep, highly degraded land; stopping all erosion and mudslides, eliminating all agrochemical inputs; watershed protection; The Inga tree alleys were unscathed from the Nov. 2020 back-to-back hurricanes with no damage at all to the 300+ tree alllleys and farmers were able to plant on schedule
  • Social-100% food security for farmers; annual, renewable firewood so forest trees are not cut, protect habitats and increase biodiversity; livelihood improvement from sale of cash crops. Large savings on labor for weed control (reported by farmers to save 60 days/year). The family is trained together and work close to home. Families are not forced to become climate refugees
  • Economic-livelihood improvement from sale of cash crops; farmers have no debt, loans or microloans; firewood produced from annual pruning may be sold or traded.


Mike Hands

When he could find work-- Damas Nunez could earn $2 a day. He reached a point of desperation and decided his only option was to flee north as an undocumented worker. But a visit to a friend in the Cuero Valley who had implemented Inga Alley Cropping astounded Dumas, who subsequently received training/seeds from Inga’s team, showing him how to regenerate his degraded plot. Damas now has food security for his family and cash crops to sell.
The cycle of poverty/food security & increasing climate shocks force continued slash and burn agriculture and there is no technology/infrastructure for most remote smallholders. But low-cost, regenerative agroforestry with Inga alleys provides options, opportunities,& promotes land stewardship- true and sustainable "Land For Life."

Contribuido por

Imagen de ingatrees_36024

Lorraine Potter the Inga Foundation

Other contributors

Royal Botanic Garden, Kew