Welcome to Fazenda Tomati! We live here in Portugal on a little organic farm, producing fruit, vegetables, olives, grapes and eggs.
We know and believe that farmers can and should work with nature. Working within natural cycles, creating habitat and health with the very trees that we are harvesting, as well as planting many whose sole function is to nurture soil life and provide food and shelter for the species who also call our farm their home. We depend on these species for pollination, seed dispersal and pest control. We work with these species, considering their needs in each business decision we make.
At Fazenda Tomati we aim to realign our little piece of planet earth with the laws laid down by mother nature. Which means we take what the land can give, and create systems which increase fertility over time rather than depleting it.
So how does that work in practice?
During the year we rotate our poultry around the farm using portable housing and electric fences. This stops any one area being particularly degraded by the birds, and as the birds eat and process the green plant material, the soil cover and fertility increases. Using this method we improve our pasture and orchard areas, and produce the highest standard of eggs and meat available today.
Our ducks are particularly valuable on our farm. They are slug and snail predators so whenever we start to see damage on our vines or vegetables, we can quickly move the ducks in with the electric fence and portable housing, and they will dramatically reduce the gastropod population, all the while fertilising the ground, and not causing indescriminate destruction of many other insect populations (as is the case when pesticides are used to tackle slugs etc).
In our market garden and across our site we operate a no-till approach. Everything down to the microbial life is important to us and tilling the soil is well known to destroy fungal networks, oxidise soil carbon, and expose beneficial soil bacteria to conditions they cannot survive. All these organisms are incredibly beneficial to the plants we grow for harvest so by only adding compost to our soil, and never turning or digging it, we allow those species to thrive. Each year we see more fungal life popping out of our soil and when those mushrooms are edible, that more free food we didn´t have to do any work for.
Another pillar of the regenerative farm is species diversity. We plant many flowering species just for the pollinators. There are perennial tree species which fix atmospheric nitrogen which further enriches our soil and starts creating a healthier topsoil for generations to come.
For millenia, humans have practiced incredibly destructive agriculture. We have managed to increase overall yields by moving to new lands after destroying the previous ones, and by adding ever more synthetic fertilisers. But we all live on a finite planet, and mining minerals and soil cannot continue forever. If we are to create a truly sustainable society we must first start by regenerating, and returning life and fertility to our farmlands…