Firstly, brief status update. As of August 2013, “Isulawasi” (18.4 hectares) has been registered in the region of San Martin as a rural landholding reserved for agriculture (predio rural).
The first half of 2014 has given Isulawasi it’s first cacao harvest. Although, the yield is tiny, it is a good sign, and gives me more motivation to “baby” my cacao trees for harvests to come. I must obviously plant another 100-200 Theobroma trees. I want to be able to produce at least 1000 kg of properly cured and dried cacao beans. I’m not sure this is feasible by next year, but I am going to give it a go. There is nothing like starting slow, learning the ropes, and expanding as necessary.
Of course, the focus has been on the cacao orchard since this is my best shot at a steady future income. I am learning as much as I can about Theobromas, the local forest ecology, watershed, and bioregion from protracted and thoughtful observation, the local inhabitants, the web, and my fantastic library. I am focusing most of my energy on the cacao agroforest, forest garden, and homegarden. However, the “sweet spot” where ecological and economic overlap with my personal integrity still eludes me. I must find a way to generate a steady income stream while leaving most of the forest to regenerate itself within my light plantings. In other words, discover a path to right livelihood working in cooperation with the forest and all its inhabitants. I guess in Permaculture parlance, we are keeping a steady eye on “people care” and “fair share” always nested within “earth care.”