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“Aurora Tropical” in transition to BioTropical Horticulture Destacado

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Ramírez-Guerrero, H.O. 2015. Aurora Tropical: Sustainable Ways to Transition to Biotropical Horticulture. Paper as keynote speaker at Thai International Symposium.  


In most tropical countries worldwide, the current subsistence and conventional agriculture have increased productivity slightly but at a severe negative impact and high environmental cost, including the loss of natural resources’ health and biodiversity (e.g., human health and horticultural biodiversity). In response, we have undertaken activities to enhance and diversify tropical horticultural production and vegetable and fruit (V&F) consumption. We have established multiple experiments to create solutions or alternatives to the current problems faced by horticultural communities (mainly vegetable growers). In all this applied research, we have promoted, applied, and adapted Good Agricultural/Horticultural Practices (GAP); including new vegetable varieties, drip irrigation, and ecological crop management (pests, fertirrigation) at each crop stage from seed to plate and beyond. During this research period, activities included open field days, workshops, and other pertinent communal activities (Farmer Field Schools). Results so far indicate an increase of community awareness about using GAP and gastronomic biodiversity. We have been able to demonstrate to the rural and urban horticultural communities involved that the first step to bringing health to everybody (soil, water, air, fauna, flora and human resources) – and a real transition to tropical and biological horticulture – is focusing on the particular rich biodiversity in all natural resources and on the fertility of the soil or growth media. This focus then is further developed through use of good horticultural practices (seed, cultivars, irrigation system, postharvest, gastronomy, others) and appropriate biological practices including the use of local inputs such as heirloom plants and home breeding, seedling production, grafting, organic mulching, composting, stacking, and natural fertilizers and pesticides, among many others. Another important outcome has been an increase in participating communities’ awareness and pride vis-a-vis previouslyundiscovered potential of local products. These activities have helped communities to discover the value of and methods for functional diet and uses of V&F. 


Keywords: horticultural resources’ health, soil biodiversity, vulnerable environments,
nutritional and medicinal food, climate and human change