Our Regenerative Practices
At Alegría Village, we are designing a “regenerative” future and putting this vision into practice every single day. We are interconnected with all living beings - we are not separate from our environment.
We are One Ecosystem.
We as humans are a keystone species - we have a wildly large impact on our natural environment and our lifestyles can either destroy or regenerate this planet we all call home.
On our organic farm, we implement principles of Permaculture and Regenerative Agriculture to build healthy soil, protect our watershed, and grow delicious food to feed our community!
Read more about our Practices below!
Regenerative Organic Agriculture
Regenerative Organic Agriculture is a holistic approach to farming that encompasses principles and practices that increase biodiversity, enrich the soil, improve watersheds and enhance ecosystem function. One of the underlying goals of Regenerative Organic Agriculture is carbon sequestration - or drawing carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it in healthy soil and living plants. Regenerative farming is a promising solution to reverse current global trends of CO2 atmospheric accumulation and decrease climate instability. It can also increase harvest yields and offer better health and vitality for farming communities. No more toxic pesticides!
Regenerative Ag is a practice that aims to not only maintain resources but also strives to improve them. It is a holistic approach to farming that encourages continuous innovation and improvement of environmental, social and economic measures. This framework focuses on soil health while placing emphasis on high standards for animal welfare and worker fairness. The ultimate goal is to create farm systems that work in harmony with nature to improve the quality of life for everyone and everything involved in each part of the process.
This practice encourages biodiversity. This means fostering farm environments that are home to a variety of microorganisms, plants, animals, which in turn leads to healthy soil, strong crops and resilient, natural ecosystems that don't require chemical intervention to manage pests and diseases. At the most basic level we are highlighting nature’s established systems and supporting them.
The basic principles of soil building include: increasing soil organic matter, implementing the practice of conservation tillage, planting cover crops to protect soil structure, no synthetic inputs, no GMOs, promoting biodiversity, and rotating crops.
Compost drastically reduces an organic farmer’s need for chemical inputs. The process of creating compost also recycles farm materials, which is one of the basic principles in a closed loop system. Once it is incorporated into the soil it provides a diversity of microorganisms and nutrients that are vital for healthy plant development.
Vermicompost (or Worm Compost) is the product of earthworm digestion and aerobic decomposition. This is such a beneficial practice because it is essentially taking organic residues and waste materials and converting them into plant nutrients. It ultimately provides plants with valuable organic matter, nutrients and a diversity of beneficial microbes for healthy plant growth!
Raised Garden Beds
One of the benefits of using raised beds is the fact that you don’t need to till the soil which can deplete soil structure. You can maintain garden beds just by adding materials such as mulch or compost on top, which can build organic matter in soil over time. Raised beds also mean better drainage for plant roots. Covering raised beds with mulch also suppresses weeds, whereas tilling may actually create more weeds by burying seeds, allowing them to propagate.
Permaculture Design seeks to work with natural forces and systems, not against them.
EXTENSIVE Food Forests
Permaculture food forests include many different layers and varieties of trees, from nutrient-fixing ground covers to fruit-bearing perennial trees, that are laid out and function in a similar way as established forests. Plants are intertwined and support each other with various functions to ensure optimal growth. These are areas of intensive food production, and the nitrogen-fixing trees can be harvested for wood or mulch.
This is the practice of planting two or more plants together for some sort of benefit such as pest control, increased health, disease resistance etc. For example, on our farm, we plant Pigeon Peas (nitrogen-fixers!) around the base of all of our fruit trees so that they engulf the tree and provide much-needed shade during the dry season.
Companion planting works in many different ways:
Pest Repellent: some plants have properties that may repel pests and therefore protect their neighboring plants
Nitrogen Fixing: plants in the legume family have nodules on their roots which house a positive bacteria called Rhizobium. This bacteria is able to take nitrogen from the air and “fix” it into a form that the plant is able to use as nutrients. Both the plant and bacteria are able to benefit, forming a symbiotic relationship. Neighboring plants also benefit from this intake of nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient in plant growth.
Stacking: planting taller growing plants that need more sun, which create a supportive layer for lower growing plants that need more shade protection. This leads to more plants growing in a given space, each supporting optimal growing conditions.
Habitat for Beneficial Insects: companion planting creates a diverse habitat for a variety of beneficial insects whereas monocultures attract specific pests and no “good bugs” that can help combat pest invasions.
Biodiversity: Having a mix of plants together in a space creates a biodiverse, resilient ecosystem. If pests or weather wipe out a specific species of plant there will still be other varieties in the area. Companion planting is a form of security, making sure the whole ecosystem does not collapse.
Integrated Pest Management
This is an alternative method of managing pests in organic farming, which entails implementing strategies without the use of synthetic inputs.
The foundation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is working towards building healthy soil. Healthy soil creates strong plants which are in turn more resilient to pest pressure. Farmers may also choose to introduce populations of natural insect predators to control pests or implement the practice of crop rotation and selecting pest resistant varieties of crops.
IPM is vital in organic farming because chemicals, such as insecticides and pesticides, pollute our air and water and may kill good bugs and insects too, which disturbs the biodiversity and affects our natural habitats and farms. We are working towards promoting a fair system that works in harmony with nature. This leads to reduced cost, stronger plants and healthier environment for the plants and animals involved.
We use all natural, plant-based insecticides to combat pests on our farm. We create our own custom recipe from plants grown on the farm: an assortment of chilis and hot peppers (jalapeños, habaneros, pimientos), tobacco, mints, and rosemary. All are mixed with molasses and water in a giant vat and left to ferment for a month or two before we strain and use it on our garden beds!
At Alegría we are in the process of incubating a local bee-keeping business. Honey bee pollination makes a massive difference. Flowers, plants, fruits and vegetable yields will increase dramatically. We are actively working towards conserving bees and protecting their habitats as they are currently under attack due to the wide use of pesticides as well as an increase in parasites and diseases. We are at a point where there aren’t enough pollinators to support healthy production of fruits and vegetables. Bees make up a vital part of our natural ecosystems and we are committed to nurturing an environment where they can thrive.
Circular Economy and Closed-loop System:
We believe in a closed-loop system and lifestyle, which means every system’s output becomes an input for the next. We model our practices based on a circular economy, which means we produce as little unnatural waste as possible, and reuse and repurpose what we can. We follow these basic principles:
designing waste out of our systems
keeping products and materials in use
regenerating natural systems
This mindset pushes for a system shift that is based on long-term thinking. We are part of a greater movement that is building long-term resilience that can ultimately generate new, regenerative business and economic opportunities and provide environmental and societal benefits. We are designing for future generations.