Reynaldo Ochoa is an inspiration to the people of Manu in the Peruvian rainforest. He has dedicated his life to living in balance with his environment. By encouraging farmers to adopt responsible practices and enabling families to grow fresh organic produce, he is helping to forge a sustainable future for his community. “It was clear that we needed to change our way of life. To think more about our future,” explains Reynaldo.
Across the region, Reynaldo helps farmers to plant trees alongside their crops—enabling the forest to regenerate and improving the quality of the soil. “Without trees the earth becomes barren and our crops will not grow,” says Reynaldo. “The trees we plant provide shade, absorb carbon from the air and put nutrients into the soil.”
In 2008, Reynaldo began a bio-garden program to show local families how to grow their own vegetables year round—to date, he has started over 350 gardens and planted more than 30,000 trees. Today, members of his community have an improved diet and a supplemental source of income through the sale of excess produce.
Reynaldo works with the CREES Foundation based at the Manu Learning Centre. A Rainforest Alliance VerifiedTM lodge and research station in the heart of the Amazon, Manu is one of the most eco-friendly centers in the Amazon region. Hotels and tourism businesses that have completed the Rainforest Alliance’s sustainability training are eligible to earn Rainforest Alliance Verified status.