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Benefits of Agroforestry to Soil, Soul and Society






Paulo Araujo

Mariana Mota

Maria José Gomez



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What we present here is a special and agroforestry coffee experience in Brazil.  Its main differential is its productive design. Implemented using an organic agroforestry system, in addition to coffee, it also combines Macadamia Nuts, Australian Red Cedar, Ingá (native specie in Brazil rainforest) and Banana tree, ensuring high level of biodiversity and enhancing environmental indicators. It's a new paradigm of coffee production that promotes positive impact to nature (including carbon sequestration, better levels of biodiversity in the soil and water infiltration) and society as an open space dedicated to sharing learnings in regenerative agriculture.      


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A little bit of our story! Mariana and Paulo, founders of Café dos Contos, were born in São Paulo city, the biggest urban conglomerate in Brazil. She's a sociologist and he's a journalist. In 2012 they bought a farm just to be a little bit closer to nature. They've always been horse lovers, and therefore they wanted a place to keep a horse and enjoy riding. But the property already had a coffee crop (in conventional style) when they purchased it. At that time Mariana and Paulo didn't know much about agriculture. The only thing they wouldn't feel good about was to use chemicals in the soil. Then they began to study natural agriculture and did a first transition to organics. Things started changing more rapidly when Paulo joined Fazenda da Toca, as Sustainability and MKT coordinator. Toca is considered an international reference in organics and regenerative production. There they got to know  agroforestry more deeply and got passionate about it.

Then, in 2018 they invested in an experimental area combining arabica coffee, macadamia nuts, native species, banana tree and Australian Red Cedar for woods. The concept was completely different. Instead of monoculture, they invested in different species to promote biodiversity. Instead of naked soil, they'd use cover crops. Instead of bringing external organic inputs, they would  'plant' their natural fertilizers in the system. It's still a young crop (the first real harvest will come next year), but the results are already great. Implented on a degraded area, the agroforestry made a great difference in the soil and the plants are growing really healthful.

More than a regenerative farm, Café dos Contos is an open space to share learnings and disseminate knowledge on agroforestry. It is a a reserach field on agroforestry in partnership with a federal University on Agronomy (IFSUL) and promotes workshops and experiences for all publics (children and adults) focused on agroforestry and environmental education. Being close to science is something that makes all difference to understand better how to stablish a model of coffee production resilient and capable of addressing climate change and the challenges of our time. It is something Mariana and Paulo pursue since the begining. In 2019, Café dos Contos were showcased at as a cientific case at World Congress on Agroforestry in Montpellier (France) in a study called "Thriving Climate Change in Mantiqueira, Brazil. Coffee Agroforestry Design for Soil and Crop Resilience in Slope Zones". 

Café dos Contos is also the winner of New Agro Award granted by Santander Bank and Esalq/USP (the major university on agronomy in Brazil).

At the begining of this short story, you read about Mariana and Paulo being horse lovers. If you look at Café dos Contos logo you will see that horses and coffee are passions living together in their hearts.

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Clients / Target group

There are many groups of people benefiting from our work. We can highlight consumers in general, coffee producers, students, universities, environmentalists and other. Their benefits is related to the fact we are not only producing a specialty coffee, but creating an open space to share learnings and experience on regenerative agriculture and agroforestry coffee.     

Established collaborations and partnerships

We've been supported by many people and institutions. We can name WWF, International Paper and Copaiba (for a reforestation project); IFSUL, a Federal University on Agronomy (for scientific research on agroforestry), PRETATERRA, an agroforestry hub (for agroforestry implementation), Caffé LAtino (a coffee shop chain based in London)  and many others. Their interest in collaborating with us is to strenghten regenerative practices.  

Desired collaborations and partnerships

We'd like to collaborate with coffee shops, universities, NGOs, coffee producers, coffee industry and everyone interested in build a new paradigm of coffee production.

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