Grow Your Own: Farm Directory
by Juan Jardinero
For this month’s edition of Grow Your Own, we thought we´d write up a directory of different projects working in promoting organic agriculture and spreading the ideas and principles of permaculture in Guatemala. In a country where a large percentage of the population still work in agriculture, the efforts of these projects, to not only create markets for organic products but also serve all living examples of how to grow food naturally is increasingly more important. Guatemala a rich country in natural resources, faces a crucial moment; mono crops and intense conventional agricultural practices have contaminated water sources and depleted nutrients in the soil, making the need to restore the wealth of the land a task we all should be a part of.
We are glad to say that these projects are doing their part and we hope you get a chance to visit and experience the beauty, diversity and abundance that Guatemala has to offer.
La hojita is a social network started in Guatemala City with the intention of uniting urban gardeners and creating events and forums for gardeners to meet and exchange information and seeds. This network over the years has grown and extended to other parts of the country, providing services like: food baskets, cooking classes, workshops, organic markets and a website full of information for urban and rural organic farmers.
Check out their website: www.lahojita.org
Caoba Farms is probably the biggest organic farm in the country. Situated a few minutes out of Antigua, this is place worth checking out if you are visiting the colonial city. The views from the farm are spectacular; the volcanoes in the background, the colorful rows of lettuce are a testament to the abundant fertility of the land. Caoba produces a large number of organic products, ranging from fresh greens to processed goods. They are the suppliers for most of the restaurants in Antigua and their products can be found at many health food stores and at their farm tienda. Within the last year they’ve began organizing food events, organic markets and all sorts of activities to get the foreign and local community of Antigua interested in food and the way it is produced. They also offer tours and volunteer opportunities all year long.
Check out Caoba Farms: www.caobafarms.com
IMAP was established in the year 2000 by a group of people from the village of San Lucas Toliman on Lake Atitlan. The 15-year-old organization, led by Rony Lec, is making a meaningful impact in the Mesoamerican region by improving food security and, in turn, preserving ancestral Mayan farming practices. IMAP offers courses all year round, volunteer opportunities and support for farmers in the region who want to reconnect with their ancient farming techniques. Their main office outside of San Lucas is a paradise, situated right on the lake, this research and experimental farm is worth the visit. Though San Lucas is not really on the tourist trail, this side of the lake is rich in resources and famous for its avocado, coffee, and passion fruit plantations.
Check this place out: