Reduce Reuse Recycle

There’s nothing to it but to do it! Opportunities to apply the three R’ s are everywhere around us. Once we start making a conscious decision to notice them and apply them, it becomes really easy and fun to come up with creative ways to Recycle Reduce Reuse. Working at Taino Farm has given me an opportunity to see recycling action and experience it first hand. I had always recycled bottles, brought my own bags to the store, and reused food containers, but that was about the extent of my recycling. There is so much more that we can do in our everyday lives. Here at Taino, reuse recyclables to start growing our own food in! Styrofoam cups, old tires, re-purposed jugs – anything is possible! it might sound a little intimidating but believe me it’s not! with so much information on the Internet you can get the answer to any questions you may have. If you have an excess of an item in your home, do a simple Google search to find creative ways of reusing it. It’s fun for kids and you can get really cool aesthetic effects too. Here are some of the ways we currently recycle here at the farm! Stay posted for our future recycling projects as well!
recycled bathtub

recycled bathtub

recycled cardboard for sheet mulching

recycled cardboard for sheet mulching

recycled-coconut recycled-egg-carton recycled-pinapple recycled-planter recycled-string recycled-styrofoam recycled-tires recycled-wood


Food Photo Blog and a Thank-you!

I have been at Taino Farms for a little over two months now.  I have a lot of inspiration from different sources. The colors that reflect over this beautiful island are amazing who knew green had so many tones.  The fresh food that we pull from the soil, and the warmth of the people in the community is unlike anything I have experienced before. I’ve never had so many people open their homes to us, share food, stories, and laughter. The kids are all unique and special to say the least .They are the heart of everything I love here and Taino farms is magical for embracing them. People like Mavis Kulbacki and Stefan Prescott who have donated school supplies and Josh Gratton who was inspired by the movement here and is now teaching English to teenagers in Cabarete.  Thank you to all those who have showed your compassion. Last but certainly not least the FOOD!!! Here is a trip down memory lane with some of my favorite food encounters @ Taino Farms…

cacao and rambutan

cacao and rambutan

dominican food

a classic dominican feast

starfruit, avocado, and coconut

a good loot. avocado to make guacamole, coconut for sauteing with onions, and starfruit for dessert 🙂 yum

fresh sandwich

sometimes a sandwich is just what you need. bread is fresh from janets, the cheese is made locally, and the lettuce is – you guessed it – from the garden!

dominican food

fresh cacao pod and black pepper corns from the garden

dominican food

fresh prawns

nothing like fresh prawns



yuca with fresh tomato sauce!

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Las Estrellas de Los Brazos – Community Education

Las Estrellas de Los Brazos, meaning the stars of los brazos in English is a community education project that got started a couple of months ago here at Taino Farms. We’ve been operating at a true grass roots level, working with what we have and striving to improve literacy in the community and dishing out some basic English education at the same time. We have found that by integrating ourselves into the daily lives of the neighborhood kids and giving back through a variety of projects spanning from environmental education to basic ABC lessons we have become an integral part of community life here in Los Brazos.

Community Education in teh Dominican Republic

Community education in the Dominican Republic

My little Stars are doing so well and the class has grown so much that I now have two levels – one for the beginners and the second one for the kids who are advancing and who are ready to be challenged a little more. We have also enlisted the help of a great assistant by the name of Madelin. She is the sister of one of the farm workers and she is currently studying English at school. She practices with me sometimes and also helps me teach the level one students the basics. Thanks Madelin we really appreciate all your help!
So here is the structure of our little community education project:
Level 1 – The younger kids and who are still learning abc’s, numbers, colors days of the week etc,
Level 2 – The slightly more advanced students. I am introducing them to basic reading, writing sentences, and using farm vocabulary words used from an observational walk to the river. They will eventually be expected to write a short story – a bit ambitious, but I know they can do it.  I will post a sample story next time!
Our educational facility is the space that we also use for other farm projects like making honey, starfruit wine, and cheese, it also doubles up as a tool storage and work area for the farm.

carrying a picnic table at Taino Farms

new table!

We don’t mind getting cozy and sharing the space, but we are always in need of a few supplies to keep our education project going. Coming up, we are looking for some lovely donors to help contribute the following:

  • Paint and painting materials
  • Arts and crafts materials (paper, scissors , art colors, beads)
  • Technology: (printer/copier, computers, projector, microscope …anything!)

I would like to turn this space into an environment that is stimulating to promote learning and advancement! To help out, contact us through the contact form below:
I would like to thank extreme hotel for donating an old picnic table which is awesome! With a little work it will be like new! Thanks Monica 🙂

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Recycling in Rural Towns in the Dominican

I decided to clean out a spot to teach my class it’s basically a tool shed, but has good shade and lots of space.  I will post before and after pics in my next post, but here’s a little inspiration eye candy for you:

inspiration for our multi-function space

inspiration for our multi-function space

I love working on projects like this makes me feel like I’m in one of those makeover shows but only better – because it’s real life! I’m very passionate about community development and the kids are super excited to be part of the transformation process. In the area that is going to be transformed into our production kitchen and teaching area, there were lots of random empty beer bottles and other recyclables. l can’t just take them to the nearest recycling center, so I had to get creative. In the future, we have big ideas and big plans for a community recycling program. I took a look online and there are so many creative ways and projects to get involved with but  they take a little time and sometimes there is not enough time.  So I asked Victor the lead farmer here what I can do with them and he introduced me to a man who is sick with Aids and sells the bottles to cover transportation costs to get his meds. He is hard working and has a great sense of humor. I get so inspired to see people who persevere. It’s also one of the permaculture ethics I’ve learned here at the farm with Douglas Crouch my permaculture teacher. Care for the earth, care for the people, limit consumption, and share surplus. In return he gave me some yuca which is a local root crop. It has potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and Vitamin B. Hmmm I wonder how I’m going to prepare it!? The possibilities are endless! Yummmm!


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Discovering our ability to make change

Two months ago, I lived in Miami and felt like I was ready to make a change. I’ve had that feeling before… seven years ago when lived in New York and moved to Miami; but this time I was ready for a different type of adventure – a more conscious one.

I had been taking care of my mom on and off for the last three years when she was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder. My mom to me was like Superwoman: innovative, athletic, businesswoman, beautiful, charming, caring – I could go on and on. Going from that to someone who can’t take care of herself was shocking to say the least. If I could sum up what I think about the medical system in the U.S., the word would be Disgusting. I decided I was gonna Do Something.

healthy healing

healthy healing

I knew my mom owned some land in D.R. And decided I was gonna learn how to grow my own food and take my health and the health of my family in my own hands through holistic medicine and agriculture. That’s how I found the 8 day Intro to Permaculture Course in Los Brazos at Taino Farms.


Tree Identification with the kids

Tree Identification with the kids

One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. While I was learning, I started teaching a handful of neighborhood kids how to speak English. I now have over twenty kids who are like sponges for knowledge. While learning English they also learn about permaculture principles, art , math gardening etc … I’ve never seen kids so eager to learn. They come in early and wanna stay late. I’m amazed and inspired by them everyday. We have very limited resources but manage as best we can. Some of my friends have donated a couple of old notebooks and pencils. You would be surprised how valuable things are when you are low on resources. Maybe you can help! Email me at estefani.vidal@gmail.com to see what simple things can make a huge difference.