Life on a Permaculture Farm in The Dominican Republic is full of life, growth, and joy. Let me try and capture the experience here on Taino Farm:
The Dominican Republic is alive! It is alive all day and well into the night. It is an aliveness that permeates through the people, the children, the dogs, the cats and most especially the roosters. Moto Conchos are in constant movement; the colmados serve as a meeting place for locals to gossip or extend a simple “hola”; the streets contain all of the above and the occasional herd of cattle. The aliveness is carried in song swaying from a melancholic ballad to a rhythmic bachata and further heightened in energy with an accordion accompanied merengue. All life, whether human or animal, ebb and flow in this dance and add to the splendid wonder that is this island and its people. But it is within the gates of Taino Organic Farms that I’ve found myself surrounded by a different and wondrous aspect of life and aliveness. It is the secret life of plants beckoning to be witnessed and known.
From the moment I arrived I could feel the magic and tranquillity and pure energy emanating from the farm, from the land within this gate and barbed wire fence lines. All the noise and sounds outside the gate, while still heard, don’t seem to affect the reverence and calm within.
The farm itself continues to be developed in zones within the Permaculture philosophy so perhaps this in part contributes to the overall harmony of life within, but daily moment by moment, I feel there’s more. The green of the leaves is a little brighter, the fruit from the trees a little sweeter, the vegetables from the earth a little more substantial. Walking and working from zone to zone; from food forest to annual gardens, I am able to watch, witness, contribute and learn first hand the cycle of life, simple in all it’s complexities.
It is not only a farm, but a jungle as well and this being the Dominican Republic where humidity and moisture never cease everything grows…in abundance…this is life in abundance. The jungle aspect can and will take over as I find myself liberating fruit trees from wayward jungle vines and wayward trailing pumpkins from waist high grass. This could easily be considered a chore or simply an aspect of daily farm living, but to me this is nature’s way of communicating…without looking up to take note of the encroaching vines, I could have easily missed out on the bananas forming on the trees or the guandule pods waiting to have their dried seeds harvested and replanted nor would fresh pumpkin soup have been in last weeks dinner bowls without further investigation amongst the overgrowth.
Daily I am fascinated, in awe, overwhelmed with appreciation, exhausted by heat and fruitful labour, inspired by the fresh harvest of food for the kitchen and always excited to see what vegetables and fruits and lessons the next day is going to bring.
I am alive here amongst all the other representations of life on this island finding my own rhythm to the songs being sung by nature within the walls of this farm.