I’m from Brazil and come from a family with parents who are very different. My mother is basically a tree hugger – she’s passionate about nature and doing yoga. My father is a banker – he’s very logical and rational. I’ve got a bit of both – I love math and I love nature.
After doing volunteer work in Africa, when I got back home to Brazil, I realized I didn’t know much about my own country. So, I started visiting the Amazon and learning about indigenous cultures. Along the way, I saw the impact agriculture was having in these areas – soybean farming and cattle ranching were destroying the local landscape and traditional crops.
That made me wonder: Is it possible to have economic and ecological growth at the same time? I began visiting farms across Brazil to investigate different types of agriculture. I saw that there was lots of expertise and knowledge, but it wasn’t connected or shared. It was “hidden in the bush”. The numbers show it’s more productive to work WITH nature – but there was no dialogue about that within the industry. I saw myself having a role here – not as a farmer, but as a connector. I want to show people that there’s a better way to work in harmony with nature.
To make sustainable agriculture more mainstream, I decided to go to the Netherlands. In Brazil, it’s harder to reach policy makers, and it’s easier to have influence from the outside than from within. In contrast, the Netherlands is more innovative, and it’s easier to get things done in this small country.
What gets me out of bed in the morning? Seeing with my own eyes how much deforestation is affecting nature and people. I see that there’s a need for someone to speak up for nature. That’s why I created reNature Foundation in January 2018. Shortly after, I met my Dutch business partner, Marco de Boer. Through our organization, we bring together information and experts to create scalable international model farm projects.