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Restoring Ibiza’s Soil Through Syntropic Forestry

By 10 June, 2024 No Comments

A quiet revolution is unfolding on the Ibizan landscape, inviting us to renew our bond with nature and agriculture. Syntropic forestry offers a glimpse into a sustainable future, perfectly aligning with Ibiza’s enduring spirit of innovation and respect for the environment.

Syntropic forestry, a term that conjures up images of abundant, self-sustaining ecosystems, is a farming practice designed to emulate natural forest processes, enhancing biodiversity, soil health and crop yield, all while bypassing chemical inputs. Developed in Brazil during the 1980s, by Swiss farmer and researcher Ernst Götsch, this approach has since revitalised landscapes providing sustainable food systems globally.

As the island reveals its natural and authentic beauty, a deeper appreciation of its heritage and environmental guardianship surfaces. Central to this movement is the notion of creating food forests where plants and trees support and complement each other. Syntropic forestry builds up the land, enriching it for future harvests.

Local farmers, island residents and businesses are coming together in Ibiza as a community drawn by the promise of a new approach to nutritious, organic produce as well as a conservation of the biodiversity. The island now buzzes with workshops and farm visits, offering rewarding hands-on experiences.

At the forefront is Tierra Iris, a syntropic forest in the heart of the island, where the land is not just regenerated but revered. Here, participants are invited to connect more deeply through wellness and creative workshops, from medicinal tincture making to fire circles. Maya Poon, Tierra Iris’ founder, explains their ethos: “What goes into the soil goes into the soul. We must learn about the soil to learn about our soul”. This principle has not only guided their farming practices but has fundamentally transformed their relationship with nature. “Through theory and practice (we will plant over 300 trees!), Poon details, “people can learn about Syntropic Agroforestry, a way of regenerating damaged soil into edible food gardens by imitating nature’s way”.

Reflecting on her transformative experience, Sofija Mehta, co-founder of Island Hospitality, shares her philosophy: “Participating in the Syntropic Agroforestry course at Tierra Iris was a pivotal moment, both personally and professionally. As a mother, my instinct has always been to nurture my family with conscious, whole, organic foods. Yet, like many, I found myself compromising at times for the sake of convenience. This course was a revelation, it challenged me to rethink not only my choices at home but our entire approach to hospitality as a business. We’d love to do plant-to-table across all our venues but it’s a whole different thing to actually provide that on such a scale. We’ve taken a significant step by purchasing land, committed to realising this vision. This journey has deepened my respect for farmers and the care they invest in providing clean, karma-free food. It has raised so many questions for us about the sustainability of our food sources, like whether importing coconuts from Thailand truly aligns with our values”. With enthusiasm, Sofija adds, “We are actively working to make it a reality at Mikasa Ibiza boutique hotel. It’s about more than just food: it’s about promoting a more sustainable, conscious relationship with our planet that resonates with our guests and sets a new standard for hospitality”.

It becomes clear that this is more than a farming method. It is a narrative on respect and interconnectedness of all living things, recognising the power of nature to heal and sustain us. In Ibiza, where the natural world is now as much a part of the island’s identity as its legendary nightlife, syntropic forestry offers a path forward, one that nourishes both the soil and the soul. As Poon aptly notes, “the journey into the soil is a journey within”.

 

·· Experience Ibiza’s green revolution first-hand: Join Tierra Iris’ ‘Soil to Soul Retreat’ this September 2024 for a full immersion or single-day options. Plus, explore ‘Open Farm Day’s every Thursday throughout the year for hands-on garden and agrosyntropic forestry activities.