Institute and Eco-village
In 2010 we purchased our property and began farming in Belize. Over the course of our experience and working with the local farmers, combined with much study, trial, and error, we have developed our natural farming practices. We are especially indebted to the teachings of Masanobu Fukuoka. We are also very grateful for our farm partners Mr. Joe Ingram and his brother-in-law Mr. Rogelio Perez. Both are local men who's family (Perez) farmed these very lands for generations. Joe owned a farm bordering ours. In 2012 we purchased that farm also and expanded our production. Our crops are a mixture of annuals like beans, corn, squash, and rice. We also grow lots of local perennials like plantain, banana, cassava, cocoyam (Taro), coconut, numerous tropical fruits, and more.
We use a combination of Natural Farming, Agro-foresty and Permaculture principles to grow our food which consist of fruit and herb layers. The fruit crops are too numerous to list but here are some of the most popular, papaya, pineapple, custard apple, avocado, soursop, rollinia, sapote, starfruit, vanilla, coffee, cacao, chaya, and on, and on the list could go!
Unfortunately in the tropics the weather conditions vary greatly from extreme drought when it is hot and dry to the rainy season when we get around 80-140 inches of rain, much of it in just a few short months! This combined with major pest, fungus, and bacteria problems creates a feast or famine condition. Many fruits and vegetables are subject to supply and demand shortages. One thing we have done to take advantage of large amounts of fruits and local crops is start a small local wine and probiotic fertilizer business. Other than plant, plant, plant to create large and diverse food supply, we have not completely solved the challenges or shortages of all but the most resilient of tropical crops. However, many of these such as Cassava and Coconut are super foods and comprise the vast majority of our and our animals daily vegetarian diet!
While I am sure we could work much harder at producing foods that people are more familiar with and used to eating, it simply is not inline with the Natural Farming Philosophy and that of Master Fukuoka who was quoted below as being not so "fond" of work! lol. Do not be mistaken we work hard, but we also enjoy life by allowing nature to do more for us, which is the ideal of Natural Farming.
“I do not particularly like the word 'work.' Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution