To guide the most vulnerable among us to become victors over the climate rather than remaining as victims. We do this through the step-by-step creation of climate-smart, nutrition-focused Terra Firma Permagardens and Regenerative Farming Systems that lead to greater food and income security while allowing natural ecosystems and habitats to become restored to the benefit of all. All actions are child-friendly, gender-engaging and low-cost by even the most marginalized families of the world. This ecosystem strengthening process, which blends the most readily adoptable aspects of Permaculture and Bio-Intensive Gardening, proven across dozens of cultures and climates, is the foundation of the Terra Firma Method,Terra Firma International Consulting and Terra Firma Solutions.
Measurable Goals of all Terra Firma Trainings
While our vision is ecological sustainability and positive behavior change. The measurable goals we seek to achieve with every Terra Firma Agroecological Training and Reconnection are:
Increased Daily Consumption of Complementary Food targeting Maternal Health and Early Childhood Stunting
Increased Maternal Income from Sale or Barter of Excess Production
Increased Home Landscape and Ecosystem Regeneration and Resilience
Increased Family Emotional Wellbeing and Sense of Empowerment
Terra Firma is both a method and a philosophy. This "Solid Earth" foundation is as much a process as it is a product. The Five Step Agroecological Decision-Making Cycle guides people to make sound decisions and to then take locally-appropriate actions that heal their landscapes, homes and ecosystems all at the same time. Once learned in the small spaces around the home, the same process and skills can be applied to the larger crop, forage and grazing fields as well as the natural woodland areas which can be allowed to restore and regenerate. These are lessons which can become permanent skills that can be employed throughout life. No matter the ecosystem challenges that are encountered, the solution can be found within Terra Firma.
The Rule of CLOSE
Attitude change is the vital precursor to adult behavior change. If even one aspect of our 5 step Rule of CLOSE is neglected or the opposite, the action will, by definition, not be seen as doable by the learner, and adoption and the multiplier effect itself will be lost. These 5 pillars are the foundation of every teachable action within our hands-on training programs.
Close x Local x Organic x Small x Easy = Attitude Change =
Practice, Monitoring and Self Evaluation = Behavior Change
Terra Firma Training and Reconnection:
Intensively Guided Agroecology in Action
As you hover over each training content block you will find an image and a video link providing more information.
Agroecology is the study of the interconnecting benefits of agriculture with the environment. Terra Firma takes it further by adding public health and youth engagement so as to lock it all together and make each more powerful and impactful. over the long term. This simple 'dance' of interlocking arms sets everyone along the same pathway from the beginning.
All Terra Firma actions are best learned through our "See Do Teach" method. The success of this method is that it requires hands-on practice, teaching and further assessment. All learners learn how to do as well as how to teach for that is the best way to reach both youth and adults.
We only use what we already have. No matter where we are, we see waste lying all around. Our first action to identify these organic carbon-based waste materials, gather them, and bring them to a small area where they can be properly used as compost materials or direct soil amendments which will improve any site anywhere. Garden Placement depends on sun, soil, source, slope, security, and space use.
When it comes to making your first compost pile, keeping it simple is critical. Following a group gathering exercise, learners combine the waste browns, greens, manure and water in a cubic meter pile in the shade and let the microbes do their decomposing job for free. After 2 months of simple care, the pile is incorporated into the topssoil of the garden beds.
The quality, structure and fertility of any soil, anywhere in the world, can be improved organically and at virtually 'NO COST'. By combining air, water and carbon deep within the subsoil, microbial life will flourish and bring myriad fertility and structural benefits that will improve with each successive season. This is the basis of "Regenerative Agriculture" and leads to yield increases of 400% more per square meter.
Where do you want the water to go? Exactly where you tell it to go! That simple question/answer guides all Terra Firma trainings, no matter how short or long. If you control the water, you control your food security, your water security and your landscape security. Runoff must be stopped so it can slowly sink, spread and be saved under the shade of the closed canopy of bio-intensively spaced intercropping of nutrient-dense leaf, grain, root and legume.
Terra Firma guides the creation of climate-smart gardens that adapt to and mitigate against the vagaries of harsh climates. Once soil depth and health is assured, nutrient-dense crops are planted using intensive triangular spacing which leads to a closed canopy of interlocking leaves that absorb the sun while keeping the soil moist and cool. This leads to 400% yield increases for a daily harvest.
A visit from a trusted neighbor is critical to ongoing success. Within a month of training, local project staff or previously trained community volunteers must conduct site monitoring visits to assure quality management and replanting is being practiced by the learners. We never suggest a one-off training is enough. Without a planned reconnection, successful adoption is uncertain.
Three months after the initial training, nutritious cooking becomes a major topic with produce taken directly from the garden. This is critical because Nutrition Education, without access to the produce, is just a conversation. to tackle childhood stunting we provide a clean landscape while focusing on growing daily access to Iron, Vitamin A, and Protein dense leaf, fruit, root, grain and legume crops.