A Day With Forest Restorer, Eduardo (Brazil) February 22 2016, 0 Comments

eduardo and I on his yerba mate farm

Ilopolis, Brazil

On the night that I had arrived in Ilopólis, Clovis and I dashed out of the cold into a little diner on the town's main (...only) square where we met Eduardo who runs a more-than-organic operation with 60 other growers in the region. A few days later I went to visit his little part of the jungle, which he had given a second chance at life.

soya fields with yerba mate trees

Yerba Mate Trees Were All That Was Left

Many dozens of millions of hectares of jungle in Brazil had been devastated 60 years earlier leaving nothing but desert where there had once been thick jungle. As in the photo of the soya fields above, they would strip the forest bare and leave only the yerba mate trees standing due to their commercial value.  

young yerba mate tree

 Eduardo demonstrating a yerba mate harvest

Return of the Forest

Eduardo has been allowing the original jungle to return for more than half of his life. His method is patiently allowing nature to heal itself. Today his 24 hectares of jungle has been in recuperation for 40 years and yielding some yummy yerba mate. This ancient philosophy of working in harmony with nature is very rare to find in any part of the world, so I asked Eduardo why he worked this way. His response was, " when I used to make yerba mate the conventional way, the taste of the final product was never satisfactory, so I escaped from that world."

Eduardo's cooperative supplies one of Brazil's leading cosmetic companies with nutrient-rich yerba mate which is used to make soaps and anti-aging facial cream. Not to mention his main business in producing, packaging and distributing high quality yerba mate tea. I left his jungle with the realisation that yerba mate cultivation can bring back the forests. Arriba! 

 

large wild yerba mate tree

a large wild yerba mate tree