Introduction to Syntropic Agroforestry Workshop at Can Lliure Spain

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  1. Dr_Gonzo

    Dr_Gonzo Junior Member

    Aug 26, 2011
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    14th to 18th March 2019 with Felipe Amato (Brasil) and Steven We (France)

    The concept of Syntropic Agriculture was devised by the Swiss/Brazilian researcher and botanist Ernst Gotsch from what is broadly known in Brazil as successional agroforestry. Syntropic Agriculture aims to produce food, timber and fibre through a process based agriculture with minimal external inputs and without chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The aim is to build resources such as water, topsoil and biodiversity as we produce our food. Syntropic Agriculture has been proving to be financially viable and effective in many climates and biomes.

    Participants will learn:
    • The history and principles of successional agroforestry,
    • How to implement and manage those systems,
    • How to choose where to implement these systems in their properties,
    • How to harmonise these systems with nature's patterns (sun, winds, topography, local flora, etc.),
    • How to choose appropriate plant consortiums to each stage and soil condition of the system,
    • How to choose and plan the production of value adding produce.

    Introduction of the Agroforestry Principles:
    Theoretical lecture of the essential concepts of implementation and management of an Syntropic Agroforestry production system. Exchange of knowledge through practical experience.

    The following principles will be addressed during the classes:
    - Strata- How plants behave in their environment. Considering the quantity and quality of light that the plants need to be healthy.
    - Natural succession- How plants behave across time. How long it takes them to reach their full life cycle or how long it takes until they reach maturity in their stratum.
    - Mulching- The importance of keeping the soil covered with organic matter and how to plant a system whilst always keeping the soil covered.
    - Consortia- How to combine plants in an Agroforest: explanation and exemplification on how to make the combination.

    Planting planning and practical lesson:
    The students will get instructions on how to plan a species consortia in an Syntropic Agroforestry system while applying Syntropic Agroforestry principles - strata, succession and mulching - taught on the previous day. There will be a practical system planning exercise evaluating the producer’s goal regarding the quantity and type of products being produced and considering all variables of the property: climate, soil quality, ground levelling, positioning considering the sun, etc.

    Mulching: We will explore how to prepare the ground for the species to be planted and the area to be located. Understanding of the characteristics of the soil where the Syntropic Agroforestry system will be implemented, how and when it is necessary to prepare, and how to use the Syntropic Agroforestry system to recover the soil over time.

    Soils covering: We will understand what type of cover is most suitable for the species to be planted (more or less crushed), how to obtain the organic matter to cover the soil at the beginning of the system and how to cover the beds where Syntropic Agroforestry will be implemented.

    Planting - practical implementation of planting planning on the field.

    Practical class, Systematisation:
    Management*: Theoretical explanation, demonstration and practical application of pruning and management techniques of the area in the different phases.
    Systematisation of the practices - Review and reinforcement of what was practiced in the field: group dynamics.


    Felipe Amato
    Born in São Paulo, Felipe graduated from Bachelor's and PhD in Philosophy at PUC-SP. He began his research on autonomy techniques in 2003, studying bio-construction techniques, water treatment and sanitation, food production, among others.

    Since 2008, it has focused its efforts on the optimization of local resources and agricultural production without the use of agrochemicals. Two years later he became acquainted with the Swiss farmer and researcher Ernst Götsch, and since then he has participated in several courses and internships with him on his farm in the southern state of Bahia, on the Toca farm, in the state of São Paulo, and at the São Sebastião farm in Rio de Janeiro.

    Thus, using the principles of agroecology and syntopic agriculture, it aims at the creation of production systems that have a minimal dependence on external inputs such as fertilizers and even irrigation.

    Between 2012 and 2014 he was the instructor of the courses and coordinator of the agroecology sector of Escola da Terra, a free school based in the municipality of Pedro de Toledo - SP, which aims to spread ecological and sustainable techniques.

    In 2015 it had the first contact with the European climate and ecosystems, and since then it has been dedicated to the application of the principles already used in Brazil, also in temperate and Mediterranean contexts.

    In recent years it has provided technical assistance services to agroecological producers and other properties with or without commercial purposes, in addition to conducting its own production, previously in leased areas, and from 2017 in its own area, located in the municipality of Mogi das Cruzes - SP.

    Steven We

    Price: early bird until 1st. January 2019 - 350 Euro
    afterwards 400 euro
    includes camping accommodation in your own tent and food



    During the courses students get a chance to experience our land and permaculture site more intimately by camping on the land. In a semi-wild area, we have several level terraces among the trees and stones for people to pitch their tents in a beautiful natural setting surrounded by mountains and forest..
    There is also the possibility for some students with their own bus/camper-van to stay on the land, although space is limited; so if you are interested in bringing a bus, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to accommodate everyone!


    From the semi- outdoor communal kitchen, we provide 3 meals per day, breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the cost of the course
    Prepared with love, the food is always diverse, fresh, healthy, homemade and vegetarian. By that we also help to stimulate the local food economy by purchasing what ingredients are not grown at Can Lliure from the local organic “Cooperativa” and other local producers and processors


    Can Lliure as a place for mindful Human-Nature Relationships. With our aim of creating a Living, Learning & Research Centre to develop once capacities and to realize inherent potentialities with natures guidance and support.

    We see Can Lliure as a important, vital place and seeding ground for ourselves and the wider global community to adapt to their surrounding environments once again and enjoy their bounties in a sustainable manner.

    Can Lliure is based in the wonderful and magical Alta Garrotxa area close to the Spanish Pyrenees. The land we are in Stewardship of is 100ha and is mainly covered in wild Oak forest with lots of wild goats, wild boars and limestone cliffs. There are 3,5 ha of cleared terraces with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. We recently started to regenerate these terraces which in the future will become a diverse Agroforestry systems and organic vegetable gardens. We also started our first steps on Mushroom Production and we host a ecological Bee Sanctuary on site. We are very blessed and very grateful to have a clean, natural freshwater spring on our land from which we drink. We also have a few simple structures like outdoor showers, compost toilets, geodesic dome and bell tent to accommodate and host people to enjoy this wild and natural place.

    Pictures of the site can be found here

    The current initial evolving site design of Can Lliure can be found here

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