Designing a Coffee and Avocado Alley Cropping System

This video case study takes us on a tour of Jason Mraz’s family farm in San Diego, California, where he is growing both specialty coffee and avocados in a single integrated alley cropping system.

Combining multiple crops into one system creates synergistic inter-specific relationships that improve both crop production and the environment. In warm climates like Southern California, many farmers are now creating such alley cropping systems by planting coffee shrubs in between rows of avocado trees. Doing so maximizes water and nutrient use efficiency, enhances integrated pest management, and increases both yield and quality of the crops.

In addition to these production benefits, alley cropping systems such as these also have many ecosystem benefits.

This video tells Mraz Family Farm’s story of how they started farming coffee and avocados together, and it details the design factors to consider when planting a coffee and avocado alley cropping system in a warm environment such as Southern California.

This video is produced by the National Center for Appropriate Technology through the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. ATTRA.NCAT.ORG.