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January 10, 2020 - Guest: Dave Sansone

Topics: Agroforestry, "Bio-tilling", Sustainable Hawaii, Urban Agriculture in Detroit

Show Details

On this episode of Solutions News, host Rinaldo Brutoco and producer Kristy Jansen talk agroforestry with expert Dave Sansone, an agroforestry and permaculture researcher and consultant on the Island of Hawaii. Sansone practices climate-friendly, “no-till, no work” farming strategies in Hawaii that allow for the best outcome with the least effort. The conversation focused on both Hawaii and California and local aplications of agroforestry and "bio-tilling". Specifically, the three discussed the use of regenerative agriculture techniques to grow food, feed, and fiber. Across the US and beyond, farmers are discovering that a systemic focus on soil health will award them better outcomes with less inputs. This is because regenerative agriculture aims to boost microbial activity, carbon retention, and water infiltration in the soil so plants can more efficiently obtain what they need. The best way to achieve this? Do less, not more. The soil is an integral part of the entire ecosystem, and it is a complex living system in itself.

Agroforestry is defined as sustainable agriculture which grows trees alongside other crops and animals to benefit all parties, including people and the greater environment. According to the U.S. Forest Service, strategic agroforestry can increase crop yields by 56 percent. It is also a type of regenerative agriculture, meaning a growing focus that increases the productivity of the land by restoring organic materials to the soil, thus resulting in benefits such as carbon storage, vibrant soils, water retention, and higher yields. This unique solution provides more than a quick fix to a complex and pressing issue. Agroforestry produces a diverse crop yield, a healthy ecosystem, and a resilient habitat that can more easily adapt to a changing planet. 

In addition, we end the show with a look at how the city of Detroit, Michigan has become a center for urban agriculture, with a special mention of two organizations in particular, Keep it Growing Detroit and Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. Both are working to create community resiliency and food security in the city, and are showing the rest of the country how it might be done.  

Additional resources and background information for this episode:

A food forest uses the power of three dimensions plus time to create an edible paradise.

A food forest uses the power of three dimensions plus time to create an edible paradise. 

Guest Bio: Dave Sansone

Dave Sansone is owner of Agroforestry Design, LLC an Agroforestry/Permaculture Design and Consultant practice supporting farms and landowners in sub-tropical regions.  He is also a no-input/low effort agroforestry researcher investigating the interaction of diverse soil types, climates, precipitation and over 1,000 native and introduced species.  Dave has placed special focus on perennial and woody crops, while also researching organic farming with annuals and shrubs, and designing food forests that include edibles, native species, and bamboos. Dave is an expert in riparian habitat restoration and a seasoned advocate and educator in agroforestry.

Over 20 years of research and practical application, Sansone has developed a low input/effort system he calls Natural Systems Cultivation which utilizes an array of strategies and tactics developed from a keen understanding of nature's rules, processes, and tendencies to create "best horticultultural practices" for production, nutrition, and ecological services.

The system is a fusion of agroforestry, permaculture design, analog forestry, Masanobu Fukuoka's Natural Farming, traditional indigenous landscape management practices, Cho's Korean Natural Farming, Sloping Agriculture Land Technology, Inga Agroforestry, Soil Food Web. 


Dave Sansone, our guest on Jan. 10, 2019