Syntropic Agriculture is a set of principles and soil recovery techniques developed by Ernst Götsch that enables the integration of food production dynamics with the natural regeneration of forest
In June 2017, we had a huge fire in Portugal resulting in fatalities and devastating many hectares of land. The fires swept largely through areas where the monocultures of eucalyptus and pine were thriving and badly managed. The Eucalyptus tree is a wonderful tree but when it is industrialised in monoculture, it is extremely susceptible to fire and propagates itself with it. It also degrades the soil making it acidic and pumps water from the tables in great amounts to support its vast growth. It is a problem of our time and a contributor to climate change and desertification by eradication of natural eco-systems. When the fire swept through the valleys, although it damaged some of our infrastructure, it left an oasis of green around the hamlet. Miraculously we were spared and our centre attracted a lot of attention as to why it was unburnt and escaped the dragon’s flames.
This was an experience that deeply humbled us and that realigned our intentions. In a deep sense it was a cleansing, a purification, a blessing. Our awareness expanded outwards to the landscape as we strongly felt a call to protect and care for it. It has been a beautiful journey of observation and learning, of unification and co-creation. A passion for eco-system restoration, reforestation and resilience was born out of this experience. Like a fire initiation into a greater realm of connectedness and responsibilities.
The adventure is so exciting, and ever-expanding into more joy and meaning. We have found ourselves creating alliances and uniting with others to strengthen strategies and align the visions. Human resilience and syntropy is now more than a lifestyle. It is more like a resonance, an atonement, as it permeates all aspects of life. In Gravito we aim to create a healing biotope that is doing just that, permeating all layers of being.
Since then we have committed ourselves to the call. We have started to engage, commit and realign ourselves with nature in a deeper way. We have started a big project of reforestation on our land, creating various pilot projects with fascinating people. We have redesigned the landscape using permaculture principles, agroforest schemes, water retention and sintropic agriculture to restore the ecosystems and create abundance. We have planted hundreds of trees, shrubs, medicinal plants and flowers in combination and succession, following guidance and syntropic understanding.
We now work closely in alliance with Tamera, a visionary international community in Portugal, in sacred activism, building strategies for a national network. We are also partners with Reflorestar Portugal, a movement for growing agroforest and syntropic agriculture, following Ernst Gortsch’s principles among other influences.
We are welcoming volunteers and woofers this year from the 1st of March. Volunteers work 5 hours a day, eat our home cooking, sleep in a shared tipi and participate in domestic tasks.
The vision for Gravito is expansive and organic. Every year various targets are to be achieved during the off-season months. These include building the infrastructure for the centre and its gardens, developing the energy systems and the permaculture, restoring the terraces and the river banks, forest managing and the long-term tree plantation program.
We are looking for inspired and positive characters who are not afraid to work.