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Brazil 2: WWOOFing on the Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza

Maja Jaworska wrote:

Wed, Nov 19, 2014

Hey,
hope you're well!
So I thought I'd send you this final version of the article. I am surprisingly very happy with the final results - the first one you read was okay but it did feel like I just slacked a bit, while this one - well, a lot more emails were involved.

The issue should be coming out soon so I'll probably ship you a copy so it can sit in the lab along with all the other coffee magazines, so some little lost girl barista that comes and visits can read it as well :)

Thank you for the awesome Skype sesh, all the invaluable information and putting me in touch with Christer as well.

I have learnt so much writing this piece and the more people I have spoken to in the industry regarding this subject, the more I realized how misunderstood it is... It's crazy, but that just means there is still a lot do to and a lot of people to persuade and minds to change :)

Maja Jaworska

The Challenge of Organic

Strolling through any health food store or even your local supermarket, you will see many products with an organic label. But what does ‘organic’ actually stand for? The explanation of the term is usually vastly oversimplified, especially when presented as: ‘organic doesn’t allow the use of agrochemicals’. Organic agriculture promotes many sustainable practices, like soil and water conservation that leads to an increased biodiversity. Organic could be considered more as a philosophy, a model that aims to create an equilibrium between humans and nature - satisfying the needs of both while at the same time maintaining or enhancing the environment.

My interest in organic was sparked by my first trip to the origin a couple months ago when I visited a coffee farm Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) in São Paulo, Brazil. It’s a certified organic farm run by Silvia and Marcos Croce with their son Felipe in charge of the coffee quality. While FAF has managed to create a model of organic farming that produces high quality coffee and works for them, others struggle and face many challenges.

There isn’t a lot of organic coffee around in the specialty industry. “If the fact that the coffee is organic is the main selling point (just like with the Fair Trade certification) then quality and flavour are not necessarily the primary concern”, suggested James Bailey, Head of Quality at Workshop Coffee. At the consumer end of the spectrum, a certified coffee is usually purchased for the certification alone with no special regard to its quality. Similar situation occurs with marketing of an organic coffee - the certification, not the quality, is its main selling point. This could potentially be one of the main reasons certified organic coffee is not in the good graces of the specialty industry, which is heavily focused on the cup quality. “The main complaint is that much of the organic coffee is commercial coffee asking 10 cents per pound above commercial price” says Alec Oyhenart, Director of Operations at Nordic Approach, a company that specializes in sourcing and importing green coffee and supplies specialty roasters all over Europe. This can make finding good specialty organic coffee a challenge but according to Fabio Ferreira, a roaster and Director of Notes Coffee Roasters & Winebar, “organic coffee can also be synonymous with high quality coffee, as an example - the terrific work that Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza has been doing all these years, not only cultivating the coffee organically themselves but also encouraging their neighbours to do the same, their results are incredible in the cup and as a [farming] model too”. So if it’s achievable, why aren’t there more organic farms out there producing high quality coffee?

The main reason could be that organic coffee farming currently presents many challenges. The first one being the certification procedure itself - it can be a very costly and time consuming process as it takes minimum three years for a farm to convert from conventional to organic. For farmers whose livelihood depends on their crop, it’s a huge financial risk. Especially considering that producers are required to pay fees for organic certification and annual inspections themselves.

An important thing to remember is that the organic label only assures the coffee has been produced, processed and handled according to certain standards but it does not guarantee the end quality of the product, which means it could be falsely advertised as such. There isn’t an agreed quality standard for organic coffee throughout the industry and the certification requirements tend to vary from country to country - with some certificating agents allowing certain pesticides to be used in production.

As mentioned before quality in organic coffee is a big challenge - particularly for the specialty industry. There aren’t many incentives for the farmers to produce high quality organic. “A certification gives you a differential above the C market, the coffee market price, but it’s not enough. It’s nowhere near enough to support a healthy model of organics today. That’s why you see organics that are bad” – says Felipe Croce of FAF.

All of this could indicate the certification model is heavily flawed. Christer Söderberg, CEO and the founder of the Open World Foundation, an organization involved in sustainable development projects amongst many others, shared his thoughts on the subject: “I don’t believe in certification models. Initially I think it was a good idea, and created a certain trust between consumers and retailers, but that trust has been abused unfortunately, so certification is no longer reliable. I believe in establishing direct relationships between customers and growers, and transparency. This provides an excellent opportunity to tell a story, and if the story is genuine, and the growers authentically interested in high quality organic coffee, they will develop a lasting, strong, and growing relationship with their customers”.

Generally, it’s currently not financially beneficial for a farmer to produce organically. As confirmed by Verena Seufert in her research paper on “Organic Agriculture as an Opportunity for Sustainable Agricultural Development”, the yields in organic farming are typically much lower than those achieved through conventional methods. Organic farming also requires about three times as much of the manual labor for adequate weed management. In countries like Brazil, where labor is expensive, the cost of coffee production is significantly higher and the premiums paid for organic barely cover it.

Lack of knowledge and know-how is another challenge that organic producers are currently facing. “Farmers and agronomists still don’t have a great knowledge on how to farm organically” explained Felipe Croce, “A lot of the studies and developments on organics have been done in temperate climates, like Europe and the US. When you work in a tropical climate, it’s a different story”. Not only is this very true according to an article in The International Journal for Rural Development by Gian L. Nicolay and Brian Baker from the Research Institute of Organic Development (FiBL) in Switzerland, they also add that “the need to conduct organic agriculture research is arguably greater in the tropics, with their more dynamic and fragile ecosystems ”. In most of the coffee growing countries the government doesn’t invest enough in research on organics and the FiBL also adds that “public and private support for organic farming research, extension and education lag far behind the funding, infrastructure and staff involved in conventional and biotech agriculture”. All of this can be very discouraging for an average farmer, who usually decides to farm organically because of his or hers personal beliefs. In his article for The Christian Science Monitor “Organic coffee: Why Latin America's farmers are abandoning it” Ezra Fischer confirms that some farmers simply give up and convert back to conventional farming due to no financial benefits and lack of support from the government.

The market for high quality organic coffee can be tricky as there doesn’t seem to be many producers farming organically with an additional focus on the quality of the cup. “As a quality-focused importer, we have to be focused on cup quality first and foremost. We can't pay premium prices for coffees that don't perform at a high level, even if they are very sustainable” says Alec Oyhenart of Nordic Approach. This approach makes a lot of sense as “a unique quality, a distinct taste and personality” is what differentiates ‘specialty’ from commercial coffee according to the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe. The coffee quality is at the heart of the specialty industry.

Speaking to Tim Williams, Director of Operations at Workshop Coffee, he shared that “my viewpoint is that quality in the cup and sustainability are intrinsically linked. We can’t afford to just look at or finance coffees that are only going to perform for one season — we want and need to see on-going improvements at a farm level year on year, that benefit the soil and environs in which our coffee grows. We believe that trying to find the producers who are on board with this idea, and offering them support, is at the core of sustainability”.

So whether the market for high quality organic and sustainable coffee, certified or not, is yet to be established, there is no doubt that organic and sustainable models of farming can benefit the environment and also us. With the threat of global warming and its effect on the future of the high quality coffee production, we should support them now more than ever. The quest for the best quality in a cup is the essence of the specialty industry, but we should also feel responsible for the effect the farming model of the coffee we are purchasing has on the environment and the lives of the farmers. Specialty coffee roasters do not cut corners on the quality - so if it is possible to produce high quality organic coffee with an outstanding flavor profile, shouldn’t we all work towards achieving this goal on a bigger scale and making organic and sustainable farming more economically viable for everyone involved?

If your daily cup of coffee can help the environment and still taste amazing, then why not?

Anna & David wrote:

Dear FAF,
Whatever the context, it cannot be a small thing to open your home to visitors unknown, connected only by a shared interest in coffee/agriculture and learning. Thank you Silvia and Marcos, Felipe and all the staff at FAF who welcomed us with open arms.

We saw and learnt so much at FAF. We got to know a large number (yet tiny fraction) of new Brazilian fruits; helped with the cheesemaking, beekeeping, and dehydrating and cooking experiments; spent time in the vegetable garden and worked on news maps; discussed fermentation, water supply and the environment; had the opportunity to observe and learn about Brazilian culture and farm management; and of course learnt about growing and selling coffee. Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza offers a treasure trove of experiences for anyone who is open to them and lucky enough to be able to come and stay.

The setting is beautiful. You must feel both lucky and proud to have custody of this corner of Brazil, with all of its social and environmental qualities, history and potential. We hope you succeed in your ambition to protect the area for future generations, while producing the best coffee in the country (if not the world!).

We leave, we hope, as better people for the experience not only through all of the activities just listed, or another month's exposure to the Portuguese language, but also through meeting everyone at the farm and many neighbours, townspeople, friends and partners.

Obrigada Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza - Nunca vamos esquecer vocês!

Anna and David
Australia

Estelle & Laurent Dubois wrote:

Dear Croce Family,
Few words to share again how happy we were to spend 2 weeks in your fabulous FAF paradise. It has been a really enriching and revitalizing Wwoofing experience.

Thank you for your warm welcoming and sharing your passion. Souvenirs and learnings will for sure follow us in our daily life.


July 2014, French Wwoofers ending their 10th world tour in Brazil.
What a magic introduction to this country!

This is not a goodbye, just a `see you later´ in Paris or Brazil.

We will of course follow the Wwofing farm actuality through your new FAF Wwoofers Google+ profile :)

Estelle & Laurent Dubois

Olcay wrote:

Hi Silvia!!!
So sorry for the late mail!! You were in my mind during my SA trip all the time. But it was hard to find a proper time or internet connection sometimes. How have you been doing? How is the farm, i think coffee harvest time is coming soon. Hope everything goes well with the process.

I came back home a month ago and trying to adjust my regular life here. I missed my family very much during my trip. I visited them first when i arrived. Tried to work on the other farms in Argentina and Chile but it didn't work.Wrote some farms and some of them replied back some of them not.

It was hard to find good one. One of them wrote me that i am from a country where is ruled by islam and i am probably not free (with scarf) in my country and looking for working experiences in other countries... And they thought they could help me for that mission etc. I realised that people don't know about Turkey...And they didn't understand my situation and why i want to learn organic farming:))

Anyway, I visited Uruguay, some part of Argentina and South of Chile after leaving Brazil. I did many hiking and trekking on the beautiful landscapes.

Sending some pictures. Hope you like them. Also will send some from my ipad. I always remember FAF very good. Always mention about you & your works everywhere. I learned many things there. I wish i could contribute more...and your kindness...Unforgetable...Thank you very much for everything!!! It is a bit late but please forgive me for this late mail...

Hope to see you again. May be in Istanbul ;-)
Please tell hi from me to everybody in the farm!!
Best regards!!
Olcay

In the spirit of a rainy Sunday (now that my free time is mostly concentrated on the weekend, that really sucks) I´m catching up with my blogging. So these are almost real-time pictures from my current life and work on the Fazenda AmbientalFortaleza as a WWOOFer (these are the Brazil farms, mine is BRA108). Their main product is Bob-o-link Coffee, but they also have a range of "micro-lot" coffees, specific beans in small quantities. And there´s a café in Freiburg using their coffee: "Elephant Beans" in Basler Straße near Johanneskirche (for the locals ), run by Jörg Volkmann who I had the pleasure to briefly talk to on Skype. Oh how the world is small!

So this is what I sort of saw on my arrival — sort of because it was actually dark then. The sign with „welcome“ in all different languages was made by the WWOOFers who left the day after I arrived, and I think that is a good symbol of how everything is still in a process of growth here. The house right behind the signs is the „WWOOFers‘ house“ where I sleep.

Also these decorations in the entry to the house are brand new, and this is the previous WWOOFers‘ luggage. Three lovely young Argentineans. By the way, the country flags are only from nationalities who have been there before, so even in a year or so a lot has already happened. The other picture is a maracuja (passion fruit) flower, and in the background my comfy double bed and net. Oh how glad I am I have it, thank you again and again Johannes!

This is an impression from the heart of the Fazenda, on the right of this picture is the „séde“, the main house, and to building on the left comprises the kitchen, a small library/TV room and the „salão“, dining and living room.

So this is the inside of the „salão“, first looking towards the kitchen then towards the couches.

An outside view of the salão building from where the other picture ended, and the back side terrace where we mostly eat. More on the jabuticaba tree right next to the terrace below.

Nice little details in and around the house: a coffee bag on an old-school coffee balance with a dead moth on it. The bell that calls us to the meals and has already given me a sort of Pavlov-Reflex.

This is the delicious salad buffet fresh from the garden we eat twice a day. Curious that people around the world use lemon juice instead of vinegar for salad dressings.

If a little hunger manages to show up between the meals, or if I’m smart enough to not eat until I’m bursting full, these fruit baskets are waiting.

This is the garden where the vegetables come from and where we (the WWOOFers) sometimes work, too.

Sebastien, „Francês da Africa“, and myself with a little harvest for our dinner on a weekend that we spent on the farm alone.

Pictures from the fruit tree of national pride „Jabuticaba“, which flowers and gives fruit directly on the stem. This is the tree right next to the terrace, stunningly beautiful and filled with the humming of bees.

And because this is tropical enough to not have strict seasons, another tree nearby already had fruits which I went to harvest with the wonderful Lucia who’s in charge of the vegetable garden and the chicken, and José the gardener, a man who definitely loves his plants.

A lake in the middle of the property, and some of the former workers‘ houses who are now mostly unused, waiting to be restored for an increasing flow of partners and guests into the Fazenda

Another mostly historic structure, the big terraces for drying the coffee. In the far distance on the right the metal frames which are used for the higher quality processing of the present-day small quantities.

Storage rooms and an old-fashioned, loud and fascinating sawmill, in action.

A machine for sorting the coffee beans, at another farmer’s place which we used on the weekend. The bags piling to the ceiling are his, and the pile in the foreground are some of ours.

Another curious tree with the fitting name „Mamica de Porca“ (pig’s tits).

Some of the many many birds which populate the Fazenda, their songs and other sounds always filling the air.

An old tree nearby the houses.

And a few more nature impressions from around the house: A pepper tree and a wasp nest; the flowers of something similar to a banana plant.

A cactus flowering (well, what is there to say?).

The tree I planted on the first day, not my last one.

From a Sunday tour of the surroundings: A bigger lake, which shows how dry the last months had been.

The viewpoint is also some strange new-age temple-like thing, everything made to be symbolic of something, but feeling very random and eclectic to me. And a rattle snake on the property we saw from the car on our way home.

A little bit of work: we were putting up a bamboo mat ceiling in one of the houses to be used as a guesthouse, feeling our way „brazilian style“ as Sebstien and I would say — doing and trying things and changing the plan on the go instead of thinking about the process too much ahead of time… The two men here are Carlos and Marcos, very good hearts in a somewhat rough shell.

Me hammering on the ceiling …

… and posing for the picture. Burning our wastewood.

Our team while we’re waiting for the fire to do its work.

Now, off to the „real“ lake for the afterwork refreshment. So beautiful and remote.

Increadibly relaxing, and also the twenty minute walk back home is also filled with beauty.

And sometimes something just makes you think — me here: fences are bad.

Nicole Pita wrote:

I worked at Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza as a WWOOF volunteer during the month of May 2011. Every day on the farm was different. There were many tasks that I could choose from to work on, from bottling honey to picking coffee to mapping trails. The work was always rewarding, as was the food their amazing cook prepares daily!

If you are interested in learning more about organic, shade grown, quality coffee, FAF is a farm worth visiting. One day I took my camera around with me and recorded my day on film. Check out the video below to see what a day in the life of a WWOOFer at FAF is like!

Click here for view A Day in the Life of a WWOOFer at FAF

Every WWOOF farm I have worked on has been different, but this one by far is the most dissimilar. Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) is the largest farm I have worked on and the one with the most resources.

A few quick facts about FAF:

  • FAF stands for Farm with Environmental Fortitude
  • 800 hectares in size (2,000 acres)
  • Grows: sugarcane, coffee, bananas, vegetables, fruits, makes cheese, honey and eggs
  • Have wifi internet
  • 6 families of workers live on the farm
  • Founded in 1850
  • Exports products to Europe and US (coffee)

FAF is located in a heavily agricultural area of the state of São Paulo, about 3 hours from the capital city of São Paulo. Every single square inch of land that surrounds us is either coffee, pasture, sugar cane or fruit trees, with tiny little pockets of forest here and there.

The history of land use change in this area is complicated and heart breaking. This all used to be Atlantic Forest, like the Amazon rainforest but cooler and with less precipitation. The figures are rough but about 70% of original Amazon Rainforest remains intact, on the other hand, only 5% of original Atlantic Forest is left. This forest is home to 70% of the vertebrate species classified as endangered in Brazil. Here there are only a handful of hilltops with Atlantic Forest left. Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza is one of the only farms in the area that has protected forest areas on their property.

Marcos Croce and Sylvia Barretto, the owners of FAF, do what they can to farm ecologically. They have buffer areas around bodies of water, they are replanting native Altantic Forect tree species and they grow crops organically whenever possible. They say:

"Our Mission is to be a socially, environmentally, and economically Sustainable Farm – a model that sows the seeds of Sustainability to the Individual, to the Family, to the Business community and to Society as a whole."

However, after conversing for a few days with Marcos I've learned a little bit of the history of the farm. It was originally all conventional coffee, meaning sprayed with pesticide and boosted with fertilizer. When Marcos and Sylvia converted their farm to organics they lost thousands of dollars a year as their yields dropped precipitously. But they don't live off their farm by any means. Marcos manages an export business as well, and with that money they have been able to experiment freely on the farm.

Which raises the question, is FAF sustainable? They have a garden that produces all the fruits and vegetable eaten at home. They continue to grow, buy and process conventional coffee, but are converting to organic and even shade grown coffee (more on that later). At this point they aren't losing money, but they aren't making any either, but without the export business they would not be able to continue farming.

I'm still trying to understand how the farm works and how much of it is actually organic. I don't even understand how this property is laid out. I feel like I could walk for a day and not get to see half of it. It also took me a while to understand why they even have WWOOF volunteers when they could easily hire paid help. But it's the same reason why I am not just WWOOFing because it is free. I am WWOOFing to learn. They are WWOOFing to share. I'm curious to learn, although with all the luxuries on this farm I feel like I could easily stay for a long time…

Source: Our World in Food


At my fifth visit in Brazil , 14 years after my first one, I finally managed to open my mind for more than just 3 weeks, for this lovely country, blessed with nameless beauty. Together with my girlfriend Jana, we had the great opportunity to discover and enjoy a marvelous period of time at FAF! As we arrived there in February 2012, we barely missed the mango harvest by a whisker and the coffee was far away from being ready to get picked, but there were so many other usefull and pleasurable things to do for us.

Beside our daily tasks by choice, just to name some, e.g.: weeding, pollinating passion fruits or harvesting tropical fruits and vegatables (papaya, lime , avocado, manioc, yam and so many other ones),we always had the freedom to create and realize own projects. Actually I felt like being on vacation, with active recovery. We forgot the fact of physical work or labouring, because we wanted to get involved in the process of producing organic and healthy food in a natural and sustainable way. We could enjoy and taste the reward of our efforts immediatly, staying in a unspoiled environment, having fresh, organic and marvelous food, last but not least because of Rosangela too, I'm missing the yummy breakfest and lunch a lot.

But I don't want to forget to name the funny Luzia and the true soul Ze, the keeper of the flowers. We just can recommend a stay at the FAF, there are so many things to learn and discover. Silvia and Marcos are very concerned and interested in their fellow people and we got the impression that their main focus was about :how the WWOOFers get the most out of there stay at FAF.


We loved it to be there from the first moment and we are fully aware of the fact that we are blessed to spend such a wonderful time at such a great place with cordial people.

Jana and Rüdiger

Since October 2010 Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza started to have the visit of WWOOFers from all over the world! It has been a great experience! We have notices that the people that are engaged to the WWOOF community are very special.

We have made great friends and some already are talking to come back!

Caleb O'Brien wrote:

Through a fortuitous series of chance encounters I found myself WWOOFing at FAF during the month of May 2012. We arrived just after the end of the rainy season and the farm was resplendent: fields and forests verdant, paineira roxa trees heavy with pink blossoms, the air filled with the low hum of bees, green clusters of coffee beans maturing on the trees. I'm a beekeeper and my main task during the month was helping Silvia continue to prepare her hives for the upcoming honey flow. Slivia is a tremendously knowledgeable & infectiously passionate beekeeper--it was a great pleasure to help take care of her bees and learn from her years of experience. In addition to beekeeping, we cooked, worked in the commercial vegetable garden, cleaned, painted signs, helped with a U. of I. spring trip, etc. etc. etc.

 

Perhaps the best part of WWOOFing at FAF (apart from the company and setting, of course) is the food. Rosangela, the cook, is a force to be reckoned with: her culinary wizardly combined with the fresh bounty of FAF's fields and orchards makes for some of the finest food I've ever enjoyed. I never quite felt like I was working hard enough to deserve it.

 

WWOOFing at FAF is a great opportunity to get to know a beautiful piece of Brazil far off the beaten tourist track, to understand the traditions and transformations that are affecting coffee production in Sao Paulo state, and to learn about every aspect of organic farming, from fertilizers to marketing. Perhaps most importantly for me, it reinforced the importance of the decisions we all make every day as consumers. Standing in a grocery store in Missouri contemplating row after row of virtually identical coffee bags, it's hard to imagine--let alone understand--the real difference between conventionally grown and organically grown coffee. It was only after living at FAF, after seeing wildlife thriving beside commercial coffee production, seeing the difference that organic agriculture makes to the health of a land and it's inhabitants, that I understood how vitally important our decisions as consumers are to the success of sustainable agriculture everywhere. I consider the month I spent at FAF to be the most rewarding, interesting, and valuable segment of my travels.

Nicole

Nicole wrote:

FAF is located in a heavily agricultural area of the state of São Paulo, about 3 hours from the capital city of São Paulo. Every single square inch of land that surrounds us is either coffee, pasture, sugar cane or fruit trees, with tiny little pockets of forest here and there.

click here to read more...

Julie Pallozzi wrote:

Julie Pallozzi

My overall experience at FAF has been full of adventure and learning. From catching large fuzzy spiders, working alongside Luzia in the garden, and even just watching the farm?s daily life, there is not a moment here where there is nothing to do. I particularly enjoyed the people I have met here. It was great to make friends with WWOOFers from three different countries, and it was even more fun to discuss our cultural differences. The farm employees are also full of character, and I felt that they did genuinely want to get to know me despite the language barrier.

As for the WWOOF work, there are plenty of places to become involved on the farm. It is easy to participate in a variety of different areas on the farm, and it is also easy to dive into a specific area and stay there. Either way you are sure to get the most out of your experience!

Thiago Almeida wrote:

My name is Thiago, I was born in Brazil in 1981 and somehow ended up graduating in Sciences of Education in Denmark, in 2009. Me and my wife set up for a travel around South America and we had the luck to decide to include Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) on our route. That has been our best travel decision so far, for the people and the place have been deeply attached to my heart ever since, and I felt like growing roots there, just like all those amazing trees which suddenly become part of your life.

To start with the place I must say that the wwoof description list and the website (arquivo.fafbrazil.com) only let you take a small peek into everything FAF and its owners are and represent. When you take a walk around the farm, the charming 19th century buildings seem to want to tell you a story of a great past, of people who left there home countries many decades ago and set out in an adventure to another world, cut deep into the bush and there laid the first stone and started building what was one day to become a piece of heaven under the sky. Today, with the majority of the buildings renovated, new trees planted, flowers blossoming in every corner and loads of birds delighting your sight and your ears with a show of colors and harmonious melodies, FAF has abandoned its original concept of conventional coffee producing farm and has adopted an innovative model of sustainability. As you will hear from the owners yourself, if you are fortunate enough to decide to visit the place, FAF's "mission is to be a socially, environmentally, and economically Sustainable Farm - a model that sows the seeds of Sustainability to the Individual, to the Family, to the Business community and to Society as a whole".


Thiago Almeida & Johanna Demmig

Johanna and Rachel
in the Vegi Garden at FAF
Johanna at FAF


Johanna and Luzia

To end with the last and the best, the people, from Luzia the gardener, passing by Rosangela the cook, all the way to Marcos and Silvia, there is no one who doesn't touch your heart in a special way. After four weeks working at the farm, I felt I didn't want to leave, as Brazilians in general, but this family specially, have a way to grasp your heart and make the moments you spend with them unforgettable. Many times are not enough to say thank you very much Silvia and Marcos for the time we spent together. FAF has somehow compromised my travel through South America, as I haven't been so far to a better place and I constantly long to come back to you guys, to the meaningful work, to the long time spent at the table having interesting conversations, the wonderful food, the horse riding, the river baths, the lessons about nature...

There is so much to learn in Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza, I truly recommend a visit.

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