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One man's fight to revolutionise agriculture and help slow global warming
Adam Wakeling
592 Facebook Friends
1 Team Member
Up in Smoke is a sponsored project of Sheffield Doc/Fest

The Case

What if you could change the world, but nobody wanted to listen?

Mike Hands, a British scientist, has perfected an agricultural technique known as alley cropping, that could end slash and burn farming in the world's equatorial forests.  The practice generates more carbon than all road transport annually, but very few people seem to even know about it, and even less how to stop it.

This film follows Mike's battle over four years to get his work acknowledged and funded, yet also sees the proof of his work unfold in the lives of two Honduran farmers - one who is already successfully using Mike's system, and the other who if convinced, will be the next step to spreading the word and driving the change forward.  If spread worldwide, it could transform the planet and help in the fight against global warming. 

Mike has the answer but is the world ready to listen?

The Impact

There are an estimated 250-400 million families slashing and burning throughout the tropics. If implemented worldwide, the fruit of Mike's 25 years labour could dramatically improve the lives of every one of them.  Not only does alley cropping allow for sustainable and organic production of subsistence food and cash crops, but it also allows for the regeneration of rainforests on soils long destroyed by fire. 

Not only are we talking a wholesale revolution in agriculture, but the very real chance to begin addressing the imbalance and absorbing huge amounts of carbon through new forests.  The highly regarded Stern Report, as far back as 2006, said that stopping deforestation would be the most cost effective way of reducing the impact of climate change - this will go a long way to doing just that.

2011 is the UN International Year of Forests and there is no better time is now to make this happen.  The film is already confirmed for prime-time TV broadcast in the UK, Japan, Norway and Sweden and will have its UK premiere in competition at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival in June 2011 Our intention is to raise global awareness and implementation of this critical technique - there is literally no time to lose and we are well on the way. 

What We Need

The film is finished and looking simply beautiful.  But in order to get as much traction as possible, we are now planning to put together a DVD with extra footage, unseen interviews and a host of other goodies.  Getting this done will cost nonetheless, and in order to do so we will be putting US$3000 of this total to make it as good as we can get it.  The plan is to roll out the DVD country by country, after broadcasts take place, and to capitalise as best we can on the interest we hope will be subsequently generated.

We also need translators to help us get both subtitled and dubbed versions of the film into Portuguese and French.  With these, we want to get the film with partners who can screen in communities on the ground throughout Brazil and also through the key humid tropical African countries where alley cropping could make an impact.  The other US$3000 of our goal will go towards these costs.

Mike Hands has established a charity, the Inga Foundation, whose aim is to foment the uptake of alley cropping worldwide.  To this end, we will be donating 30% of the proceeds of each DVD sale directly to the Inga Foundation.

Other ways you can help

Please visit the Inga Foundation website at www.ingafoundation.org for more in-depth information of the work.  We are also currently building a dedicated website for the film which will contain a host of links to partners and news, as time goes on.  Anyone donating to this campaign will automatically be added to our mailing list and email bulletins.

raised in 3 months
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$6,000 USD goal
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This campaign ended on June 29, 2011
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  • $10USD
    thank you!

    We will add your name to our mailing list, you're already a part of the action

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  • $50USD
    new shoot

    Thank you! Your name on our mailing list and 1 complimentary copy of the DVD when available

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  • $100USD
    new tree

    Superb! 2 complimentary copies of the DVD and your name on the thank you credits in the feature length version of the film on the DVD

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  • $500USD
    alley cropper

    Even better! 3 complimentary copies of the DVD, your name in special thanks on the feature length version of the film on DVD and two tickets to the theatrical premiere of the film in the UK

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  • $1,000USD
    ground breaker

    Approaching saintly - 4 copies of the DVD, special thanks in credits, 4 tickets to the premiere of the film when released theatrically in the UK and a slap up meal with the Director in a rather special London location, many drinks included

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  • $3,000USD
    world changer

    Gold class - 5 copies of the DVD, special thanks in credits, 6 tickets to the premiere in London, and a trip for two with the Director to Honduras for 7 days, to meet the characters and see the work in action (expenses included, but not flights I'm afraid)

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