Agroforestry and Permaculture can be adopted in both large scale, as with sustainable farming, and small scale, as with planting a windowsill herb garden.
Permaculture goes hand-in-hand with sustainable living. With this in mind, our goal is to inspire each visitor to incorporate a heightened awareness of sustainable living into his or her daily routine and to learn about agroforestry & permaculture during visits to Rancho Margot!
Agroforestry is the combination of agriculture and forestry. At Rancho Margot, the goal of operating sustainably is at the root of every decision we make. We choose to practice agroforestry and chemical-free agriculture because we understand these are methods that foster a healthy and more sustainable land-use system. We know that future generations will inherit this land and the planet we all share. We intend to steward this property and pass it on to future generations in optimal health.
By integrating trees and shrubs into an agricultural area housing crops and/or livestock, practitioners of agroforestry aim to enhance biodiversity and contribute to the health of the ecosystem.
When the Sostheim family bought the 400-acre (162 hectares) property in 2004, it was over-grazed farmland. At present, forty percent of the property is in production use while the remaining sixty percent is returning to the forest or being actively reforested. Reforesting the land is a priority for us for many reasons, and agroforestry is one way we achieve this goal even in our production space. Agroforestry restoration at Rancho Margot has included planting hundreds of trees in an effort to reconnect the biological corridor between North and South Americas. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our generation. Trees are more efficient at storing carbon than crops; agroforestry is one small step we take at Rancho Margot to improve our local atmosphere and do our part to decelerate global warming.
The living fences that decorate the property are another agroforestry technique we employ. Living fences enable agricultural production while cultivating an environment that welcomes flora and fauna. Within these living fences you will see ten acres of land dedicated to chemical-free crops interspersed with trees and shrubs and cattle grazing around one of the twenty-five pastures maintained for their diet.
Where agroforestry and chemical-free agriculture constitute our land-use ethic, permaculture is how we strive to weave human needs into this delicate balance. Permaculture is a derivative of permanent agriculture and permanent culture. The hybrid is important because a culture can’t flourish without a sustainable land-use system. How the Rancho Margot community approaches food production, housing, energy, transportation, etc. is determined within the context of a land-use system based on sustainable methods.