Mike Hands is the Director of the INGA Foundation. Over the last 20 years, Mike has been working on ways to reduce the destruction of rainforest by setting up demo farms in the tropics, so that farmers can see the benefits of the Alley Cropping. Mike, a Cornish farmer himself as well as ecologist, has overseen and contributed to the construction of local schools for the populace, who often live in dire poverty, barely scratching a living from the poor soil. Mike is a Royal Geographic Society Fellow and a visiting Fellow at Wolfson College and the University of Cambridge. The UK Environment Agency voted him one of 100 people, of all time, who have done most for the planet.
INGA Foundation is pioneering a revolutionary agricultural system aimed at subsistence farmers in the world’s humid tropics: a sustainable alternative to slash-and-burn. Our mission is to turn the tide of unsustainable destruction, to address one of the world's massive environmental problems and the food-insecurity that is its principal cause.
INGA Foundation is extending a highly successful system of agroforestry which depends upon the soil restorative qualities of fast growing, nitrogen-fixing neotropical trees. The Inga alley-cropping system has emerged from many years of research, development and trials since 1986 by colleagues in the University of Cambridge, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and others in the region. INGA Foundation was established as a charity in 2007 to implement 25 years of proven research and development into the ecology of slash-and-burn farming. Our present strategy is concentrating resources and effort in one river catchment in northern Honduras, while extending limited funding and/or technical assistance to collaborators working in eastern Honduras, Peru, Guatemala and other rain forest regions of the world.
It is estimated that 200 million farmers across the globe could benefit from the INGA Foundation technique, reversing the slowly enacted catastrophe of 2 billion tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere through slash and burn.