Incan Sustainable Building Methods
We love this story; Climate Change Spurs Revival of Ancient Incan Agriculture; on NPR's the World about the revitalization of Incan agricultural terraces to help stave off the effects of food insecurity and climate change. Peruvian terraces are centuries old, based purely on sweat equity made from basic building blocks: rock, gravel and dirt. Evidence that simplicity can be the most sustainable and low impact tools for building. Dry stacked terraces have proven again and again to be fail safe methods for growing food, providing slope and erosion control, all while retaining water. "The terraces help channel water for irrigation while avoiding erosion. They can hold water for months, which is crucial in a place with only intermittent access to water. And plants grown on them are more productive"
So it might not be a surprise that La Loma's principal and founder Marco Barrantes is half Peruvian. He was inspired by the dry stacked terraces of his father's home country and thought, why can't we do that here, and now? So he started out building dry-stacked terraces, not with stone, but with a locally available material recycled broken concrete, also known as "urbanite". The terraces at our demonstration gardens, now seven years old look like ancient relics, as well as demonstrate the early experimental phases of learning how to build without mortar. Our newer walls are more precise, have clean lines, and are more level. We have permitted walls with several city municipalities. Typically city inspectors often have never encountered our building method. It's ironic considering these walls last lifetimes. Let's hope social perception changes as people begin to understand that new is not always better, and look to our past to rediscover better ways of building.