Growing Food Like a Forest: An Interview with Tom Newmark at Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica
Téana : Hi Tom, it's such a joy to be here with you at Finca Luna Nueva, where the rainforest meets the biodynamic, organic, and regenerative farm. I'm looking around and seeing most gorgeous greens, with bursts of colorful flowers and fruits.... I feel like I've stepped into the Avatar movie.
Tom: It's an absolute pleasure to welcome you and your group to Finca Luna, Téana.
Téana: One of the things I've noticed here is that there's no real separation between the forest, which feels incredibly biodiverse, colorful, and layered, and the farm.
Tom: It's our guiding principle that we should grow food like a forest. And a forest is chaotic ... in perfectly orderly way. There is an organizing genius to the madness and the chaos. There was a friend of mine - one of the great ethnobotanists in North America - who came to visit. He looked at the canopy here in this great tropical rain forest and was stunned by the layers and the diversity of form and the multiplicity of color and the chaos. Everything is producing and every inch of sunlight is being captured. There is no bare earth. The leaves are racing up into the canopy and 99% of the sunlight is captured before it gets to the ground. And where there is ground that's available, it's being covered by vines and by an endless display of life because solar energy is endlessly bathing the planet. And that's from which all life comes.
Téana: And so why not replicate that when you create a growing zone? Why do anything other than that? This is rainforest.
Tom: Exactly. We should grow food like a rainforest grows food. And so we do not have orderly rows, straight lines… straight lines make you crazy. We believe that there should be tall trees next to shorter trees, next to vines, next to things that grow on the ground, and everything should be supporting everything else. And there should be things that come into fruit at this part of the year and things that come into fruit in other times of the year.
Téana: Incredible. Is there a name for this kind of farming?
Finish Reading the interview HERE