Food forests take root in Australia, helping growers save water

Move over biodynamic and organic farming — there is a new farming technique on the block, in which fruit and vegetable crops are grown in conjunction with trees.

Known as syntropic farming, it is a regenerative agricultural cropping method developed in Brazil that aims to mimic the way forest plants work symbiotically to grow in abundance.

Jane Hawes and her husband Neil are among about 20 syntropic growers in Australia.

They used to run a flower farm on their property at Tolga on Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands, but gave it away when their crops were wiped out by successive tropical cyclones Larry and Yasi.

“We had lost quite a few million dollars and I was just gutted and I just went ‘I gotta do something better than this’,” Ms Hawes said.

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The horticulturalist stumbled on syntropic farming when she began researching to figure out what to do next.

However, she said she initially scoffed at a suggestion to plant eucalyptus trees alongside fruit trees.

“My brain just went into conniptions. It went ‘Eucalypts, no way. They’re hungry, they’re thirsty, they’re mongrel things’.

“I had to tell my brain to shut up.”

Read More at www.abc.net.au

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