In the once lush hills of Sri Lanka’s Uva Province there is a new chapter is emerging from the birthplace of Analog Forestry. It was 30 years ago that seeds began to sprout in what has grown up to become the world’s first Analog Forestry demonstration site at Belipola.
When my partner Trudy and I were introduced to Belipola, it was both a hopeful and sad moment. Hopeful because we tasted the potential to showcase what has grown up to be a beautiful and bountiful forest garden. We also felt the possibility to not only create abundance through the regenerative practice of Analog Forestry, but to teach and share it. It was hopeful because we know that abundance does not need to come at the expense of other living beings that share this precious planet with us, and it appeared that we had found one of few precious spaces that prove this.
Yet beyond the beauty of the forest, the incredible flavor of its toxin free vegetables, and the learning potential of Belipola, a sadness prevailed because the dream had all but been forgotten.
We didn’t see the human presence in the systems. Sure, human hands had planted the trees and human intellect provided the ferment to conceive of such a place, but it occurred to us that if Belipola was going to shine as an example of what Analog Forestry can do, we must bring humans back to the forest. We must bring innovative thinking about how humanity will re-integrate with the rest of the biosphere. We must design and experiment and live in a way that is integrative, interdependent and abundant.Return to Galleries