Improving Livelihoods with Regenerative Agriculture
By Maga Guanilo
2018 CoalitionWILD Ambassador
We are part of a whole.
Let’s embrace it and reconnect with deeper wisdom.
Let’s team up with nature and see the healing and blooming of disrupted societies.
I am an architect based in Lima and work with Mauricio from Arequipa. We design for social regeneration and the restoration of natural ecosystems, looking for ways to support collective wealth and elevate the quality of life for all living beings. We began to be seduced by water, its origin and behavior, and how can we contribute to stopping the water crisis. The water cycle is the life cycle, so we must fundamentally be water lovers.
All the way up the mountains, grasslands and water basins are a part of headwater ecosystems, performing essential water cycles that sustain life and communities all the way down to the ocean. As Dr. Luna Leopold`s insightfully contributed ”The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.”
Here in Perú, the responsibility for maintaining the health and productivity of these vital ecosystems is left to the original communities that live on them and embrace pastoral lives with courage to preserve Peruvian cultural heritage through traditional livestock management. They do it over 4000 A.M.S.L. with scarce infrastructure and limited access to technology. Living directly from the land in such remote rangelands and climate uncertainty, drought is ever more devastating to these communities. Less soil fertility and fewer nutrients lead to low qualities of life for the ones working hard on the land, realizing their resources are being overexploited. Some communities have begun to look for a lifeboat, one being our Land Regeneration Projects.
We start this challenge with a big picture – the High Andean Grassland – and zoom in on an individual human scale that allows us to break it down into concrete tasks to track our goals. We know we care about the enhancement of community livelihoods, the conservation of heritage, and the revitalization of landscapes. Mauricio and I continue learning a broad range of skill sets that will contribute to this endeavor, like geographic data analysis and assessment of the ecological state of landscapes. We enjoy teamwork and believe this path is a multidisciplinary one.
We begin by getting to know a few families and learn about their aspirations and from their traditions. We observe and monitor the land they inhabit, how they work it, who do they work with, and what their major challenges and weak links are. Inspired by the books and writings Holistic Management, Regenerative Development, Cradle to Cradle, Natural Channel Design, Permaculture, Goethean Science, Blockchain, and Systems Thinking, we have begun taking our first steps at designing a “Holistic Land Management Plan for a Pastoral Community Development.”
Our goal is to keep this study and pilot project going while we continue to learn more about these highland community’s definition of wealth for a more diverse and respectful exchange.