Agroecology and Regenerative Practices

We understand that caring for the environment is not separate from caring for ourselves, that human sustainability practices should not be dissociated from environmental regeneration practices.

The Instituto Caminho do Meio's connection with environmental issues dates back to the work of Lama Padma Samten, then known as Alfredo Aveline, along with names like José Lutzemberger and Celso Marques, in environmental activism in the 70s. This scenario involved the foundation, in 1971, of the Associação Gaúcha de Proteção ao Ambiente Natural (AGAPAN), a pioneer in the Brazilian environmental movements.

ICM's environmental vision is rooted in the Buddhist vision of interdependence among all living beings.

“The social fabric is still restricted in relation to the network. The network includes the other beings of the biosphere, it includes the atmosphere as such, the rivers, the seas, the mountains, all beings. If we don't have this ability to look at beings and protect them, we can't even protect ourselves, because we live totally together with them. We breathe the atmosphere, we drink the rivers. Plants pass through our bodies and form our cells. The external environment transforms into our physical body directly. This matters. We do not have an individual existence, we are an oscillation in which the environment passes through us and through all beings. There is no separation.”

Lama Padma Samten

Thus, we understand that caring for the environment is not separate from caring for ourselves, that human sustainability practices should not be dissociated from environmental regeneration practices.

Fortunately, in recent decades, different people and groups have been committed to creating knowledge and practices to produce food and care for the environment in regenerative ways, linked to concepts such as permaculture, natural agriculture, syntropic agriculture, agroforestry, etc.

The Institute's commitment is to encourage these movements, promoting educational actions and strengthening networks.

Education for Sustentability

Based on this vision, the ICM has generated educational and network strengthening actions around the themes of sustainability and regeneration.

Gaia Education

From 2009 to 2011, we organized cycles of the course Gaia Education - Design in Sustentability, in partnership with the Fundação Findhorn, the Rio Grande do Sul Federal University (UFRGS) and the NGO Amigos da Terra Brasil.

The course curriculum covers four areas of human experience – social, ecological, economic and worldview – and is endorsed by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), as an official contribution to The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

In 2012, inspired by Gaia, we organized the course Four Dimensions in Education: Social, Economic, Ecological and Worldview, aimed at 70 employees of the Viamão (RS) municipal education network, including teachers, directors, pedagogical coordinators and city hall representatives.

Investigating our Nature

In Alto Paraíso, the project Investigating our Nature was created by Instituto Caminho do Meio in partnership with Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio), manager of Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Veadeiros.

Through it, we have already taken 700 children from public and private schools in Alto Paraíso de Goiás to an intense experience close to the nature of Chapada dos Veadeiros. We seek to awaken in our children a genuine taste and love for the Cerrado and the need for its preservation. The Cerrado is one of the main sources of water in the country and supplies the three largest hydrographic basins in South America, feeding three of the largest aquifers in the world, underground reservoirs that supply rivers and springs.

In the first phase of the project, we seek to awaken a sense of wonder and contemplation, inspiring young people to see nature as a safe, beautiful, clean, pleasant place that needs to be cared, for this and future generations. At the time, we realized that the vast majority of children in the city had never visited the park and very few knew anything about the fauna and flora of the region where they live.

In the second phase, we proposed a recovery activity with seeds from native trees and edible plants, so that they could follow from planting to production, becoming temporarily responsible for taking care of a small area, discovering for themselves the transformations that plants suffer during their life cycle and their connections with the beings around them (bees, caterpillars, insects, etc.).

Syntropic Agriculture Course at ICM Canelinha, 2019. Photo: Zé Paiva/Vista Imagens

Agroecology and Food Production

We understand the urgency, for today's world, of developing a production system that, at the same time, produces healthy foods of high biological value, recovers degraded areas, returns water to springs and brings back our forests.

Thus, in Alto Paraíso (GO), the Institute founded the Centro de Pesquisa em Agricultura Sintrópica (CEPEAS), based on the vision created by Ernst Götsch and with the objective of supporting and promoting the training of ICMBio technicians, farmers from the surrounding Conservation Units, riverside and community dwellers in the interior of extractive reserves, national forests and Environmental Protection Areas, university students from the most varied related areas, technicians, extension workers and the general public. Learn more at

In Viamão, ICM has joined forces with several institutions to promote healthy food and regenerative agriculture practices, through the network EcoViamão. The network is made up of partners such as Instituto Federal do Rio Grande do Sul — Campus Viamão, the Escola Técnica de Agricultura (ETA), the Escola Estadual Canadá, the Assentamento Filhos de Sepé, do MST, and more.

In addition, at Aldeia CEBB Caminho do Meio, a weekly fair of natural and solidarity economy products is held, which includes food, hygiene items, cosmetics and handicrafts.