El Pilar Forest Gardeners Speak

mesoamerican research center
mesoamerican research center
mesoamerican research center
In speaking with many of the Forest Gardeners at El Pilar and surrounding areas, it is clear that there is so much these guardians of the forest can give us in wisdom and knowledge. The Forest Gardeners agreed on several key points:
  • The concept of the Forest Garden is not a new idea but rather an old practice conducted by their Maya ancestors. It does not need big ideas or money to do it, only action. 
  • Each gardener understands that monoculture, which was introduced by the westerners, has created great damage to the biodiversity of the tropical forest, hence the need to return to the friendly practices of their ancestors.
  • The idea of the project is to return to the concept of diversity because most of the lands have been destroyed by the practice of monoculture and lack of concern for the natural environment.
  • The water level in the ground is falling, hence the need to protect and enhance the Watershed in order to maintain the water cycle.
  • When asked of their concept of Forest Garden, the participants had this to say:
    • A site cultivated with many species of plants
    • A site with a wide variety of species to enhance the environment
    • Help the forest to produce more by using good husbandry practices
    • A managed area of the forest used for increased benefits
    • A practice that secures the water cycle
    • Managing the multi-canopy
    • A practice to ensure a source of food, medicine and material for financial benefits
    • A system to helps purify the air, add economic livelihood, & replenish the soil.
    • Paradise
  • The VISION as agreed upon:
    • Working together, creating awareness and protecting our forest and its natural resources through the Forest Garden Model.
    • There was unanimous agreement that the Forest Gardeners will be members of Amigos de El Pilar and at the next Annual General Meeting an amendment would be tabled to change the objectives to reflect the work of the Forest Gardeners.
  • In answering the question of "Why We Exist?" and defining the Guiding Principles of the network, the following were points raised:
    • Personal benefits to members
    • United to achieve goals
    • To share ideas and experience/synergy
    • To bring health to the environment and create livelihood opportunities