Conservation value and special characteristics
Sinal do Vale covers 173 ha in the valley of Santo Antonio, in the buffer zone between one of the last remaining preserved areas of the Atlantic Rainforest and the Baixada Fluminense of Rio de Janeiro, a region notorious for high unemployment and crime rates and precarious infrastructure. SINAL is situated within a designated Environmental Protection Area (APA), a landscape of public and private protected areas dedicated for conservation. SINAL contains an agro-ecological farm, forest regeneration areas, and an event and retreat centre. It is a centre for regeneration of ecosystems, communities and individuals. It prototypes solutions for the regeneration of soils, food systems and forests and disseminates them through experiential education and products for conscious consumer markets. (www.sinaldovale.org).
Urban expansion through unregulated occupation of land and lack of urban infrastructure puts pressure on the APA in which Sinal do Vale it is located. There is a lack of socio-economic opportunities and public services are precarious. Monoculture, pasture and uncontrolled urbanization lead to deforestation and degradation of the Atlantic Rainforest.
SINAL is incubating a social enterprise that commercializes a line of healthy, regional, organic products processed from fruits -such as green jackfruit- grown locally in agroforests or sustainably extracted directly from the Atlantic Rainforest, through a market-driven regeneration model (MDRM) for the Baixada Fluminense and the Atlantic Rainforest. A supply chain will be built sourcing fruits from local rural landowners that are encouraged to replicate SINAL’s forest and soil regeneration model on their properties while generating income. SINAL will train its suppliers in using bio-fertilizer, organic compost, and sustainable agriculture and agroforestry practices. In the long term, SINAL will promote processing and consumption of healthy, regional zero-waste food, and plans to establish a cooperative and support with marketing and sale of sustainably produced products, which will help local landowners and farmers to become financially independent, break the poverty cycle and raise environmental awareness.
INC is working with Sinal do Vale to develop and implement a business model for selling jackfruit. Currently, jackfruit is not seen as having financial value in the area. SINAL nutrition and culinary experts have invented means of processing jackfruit to create innovative products that provide an alternative to animal protein. They are connecting with the growing market for vegetarian and vegan foods in Rio de Janeiro.
INC worked with SINAL and business experts from Bemtevi to develop a business plan and an economic feasibility study for processing and sale of jackfruit, as well as an ecological assessment to ensure good management of jackfruit trees, which are considered an invasive species in Brazil. The resulting business plan showed that project is economically viable, and can break even and begin to provide revenue within 3 years. We are currently working together in securing impact investment to scale up. INC also supported an experiment in forest regeneration, tied to the market based model of the site.