|Opuntia cochinellifera == variegated Prickly Pear|
While in Florida this year, Mike and I visited Echo Farms. This is an organization that researches sustainable farming practices and then teaches small farmers in Africa and Southeast Asia how to be more successful on their small farms by using the ideas the farm has developed.
We saw water conservation sites, hill farming, and many other techniques for the small farmer to use on a small bit of land. There was even an ethanol-producing device capturing the gas made from compost to use for cooking.
Most of the site was for tropical farmers but the ideas were universal -- an interesting day. You can visit the site and learn more about the organization at this site: http:echonet.org
Oh, and one of the tropical plants we saw was the variegated prickly pear cactus pictured above. Absolutely no prickles. Leaf and fruit both edible.