My Rainforest

My domain. My kingdom. My own little part of ECHO‘s Global Farm. The Rainforest (cue obligatory creaking frog jungle sound effects). This is the part of the farm where we grow ube, a purple yam from the Philippines. That’s it, trellising all the way up the palm tree:

And that’s winged bean on the left, going up the bamboo poles. It’s a Sri Lankan trellising bean, with edible leaves and roots.

The idea of the Rainforest is to demonstrate “slash and mulch” agriculture. This is an alternative to slash and burn, where instead of burning the organic material, you mulch with it, keeping the soil covered at all times. The hope is that with improved farming techniques, farmers in the real rainforest won’t have to keep burning it down to survive.

The Rainforest also demonstrates multistory agriculture. The yams are a case in point. They go all the way up the trellises and into a tree without killing it. And another crop can be grown at their base while they are small. We also use the Glyricidia tree as a living trellis for our cucumbers to grow up. The shade from the Rainforest’s trees are its biggest challenge, but trees are also an asset, so it is important to learn how to farm in conjunction with trees, an idea called agroforestry.

So that’s the Rainforest.


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