Farms


The Pumalín Project

While Pumalín is best known as a public-access park, the Pumalín Project extends beyond wilderness conservation into ecological agriculture and restoration. During over two decades, close to a dozen farms adjacent to Pumalín Park have been purchased, restored, and managed as models of small-to mid-scale organic production. All farms had suffered significant degradation of soils, pastures, and native forests previous to purchase. Rainy, inhospitable, and inaccessible, southern Chile was settled only in the past century, when the Chilean government undertook a colonization strategy of offering land titles to those who made "improvements" to land. Ways of demonstrating occupation included clearing land by fire and/or ax, as well as constructing houses, fences, and gardens. The combination of thin top soil, difficult climatic conditions, lack of economic resources and remoteness presented substantial challenges to settlers. Poor pasture management and rudimentary tools compounded the ecological damages of settlement, leaving most farms with degraded soils and vegetation. Restoring productivity and beauty has proved a major challenge, but a thought-provoking and educational one.

These farms strive of offer park visitors and other landowners a model of more ecologically minded management practices, of "conservation as a consequence of production." Their restored pastures provide a buffer zone to the adjacent parklands, providing habitat for native species. Organic gardens and berry plantations provide a decent agricultural yield while maintaining the health of soils and the surrounding ecosystem. The main activities have been raising sheep and cattle, producing native forest honey (sold under the Pillán Organics label), and growing fruit and vegetables for local consumption. A significant percentage of each farm remains in its natural, untouched state, allowing agricultural productivity to exist in harmony with the native forest.

 

Honey processing facilities at the Pillán Farm

Organic honey in one of our stores

To learn more about Pumalín Project's work in each of these areas, explore these pages:

Agriculture affects more of Earth's surface than any other human activity. Large-scale industrial agriculture is worsening human health, polluting water, losing soil, killing biodiversity…the well-known list of horrors goes on. Large-scale conservation must think of the protection of wildlands and the promotion of model organic agricultural systems as interrelated areas of work. Park visitors are encouraged to visit and explore many of the project farms.

 

Organic gardens at the Reñihué Farm

Sheep grazing at one of our farms

Learn more about each farms of the Pumalín Project:

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