Biointensive garden at Las Cañadas

Biointensive garden at Las Cañadas

After a week of living in an ecovillage in Veracruz, Mexico it feels very weird to flush a toilet.  Las Cañadas is a paradise in a cloud forest, a cooperative of 36 members who collectively grow their vegetables with organic and biointensive methods, and raise cattle and animals using a model of silvopastoreo, which enriches pastureland with nitrogen fixing and nutrient providing trees.  The members are reforesting over 100 acres of previous bare pastureland, building terrasses for their crops, and offering courses in agroecology, sustainable building methods, and seedsaving, among other things.

SosteNica arranged for seven credit managers from CEPRODEL to attend the course.  Overall, the experience was incredible.  I love the work Las Cañadas is doing, and it was an excellent opportunity to  get to know the managers from CEPRODEL.  It was a serious culture shock for us coming from Nicaragua.  Not only were there no televisions, no radios, and no meat in any of the meals, and we had to make compost and get dirty during the day – but ALL the buildings had composting toilets, and there was SALAD.  Nicaraguans don´t eat leaves.  So there were some challenges, but hopefully the results will come in the form of some more effort and money on the part of CEPRODEL to train the rural technical assistants in more sustainable farming methods.

One of the highlights was a trip to a local farmer named Don Isidro who grows organic coffee under plantain, avacado, and macademia nut trees, as well as has a large shade house filled with orchids and flowering plants.  Visiting his farm made a huge impact on the credit managers, who I think were impressed that a “normal” resident of the area took the methods that these crazy eco-nutty mexicans are practicing out in the forest and uses them in a successfull business.

I am spending my last few hours in Huatusco, Mexico eating as much salad as I can before heading off to Guatemala for a Fulbright reunion.  I´ll post pictures as soon as I can.