It’s strange how a place can hold such strong meanings and possess a kind of personality for those that inhabit it or visit it. Or how a place that you’ve known for a mere fraction of your life can become seeped in nostalgia before you even realize that it had grown strings that are attached to your heart. What is it that makes these places stand out? What makes a place so special and so real in our minds? How does a place become one that cultivates love, nurturing, sharing, and growth? I read an interesting article recently about human beings’ search for meaning in life, and how those who possess a healthy curiosity for meaning live fuller lives than those who seek just happiness. So don’t listen to Kid Kudi when he goes on about that Persuit of Happiness shit. We all know it’s shallow.


When people come to the farm, it’s for a purpose greater than an afternoon thrill, or a night on the town. They generally want to find some intention in their work, their learning, and their experience on earth. There is a strong connection that you can feel in the air there and I got to spend my last visit enjoying the Finca for what it really is. Taking a note of my First Impressions for the fourth or fifth time, I was able to reconnect with the land and find new truth for the project and myself.

With so many people passing through in the last six months, it felt necessary to use this permaculture technique of simply observing my impressions free from judgment or immediate solution.

It’s undeniable; Finca Taina is a grounded place, one that dictates its wishes stronger even than those that are working it. Rain will be fickle and refuse to come, or the river will rise so high that it engulfs our riverside patio and denies access to tired farmers. This place can be challenging, unpredictable, and cranky, just like a kid that’s going through puberty.

taino farms

Over the last six months there have been a lot of people pouring their energy into the land. We have seen the establishment of an amazing food forest on the west side of the property. It is currently swallowing up our kitchen waste and pumping out lettuce greens, cerezas (a type of cherrie), hot peppers, and moringa and is promising to feed us yucca, black beans, and mangos in the near future. Across the roadway on the east side in the lower part of the property where water used to pool and stagnate in the rainy season, we’ve dug trenches and built raised garden beds and the beginnings of a utility structure that will be the host of much more great work to come. When I really chilled out and looked closely I saw dozens of little bees foraging all over the flowering cherrie bushes. Happy bees = lots of honey.


Cerezas growing in the food forest

It’s hard to express all the improvements at the farm, but lets just say that for each meal that I’ve eaten in the last month, probably 30{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} of the food has come from the Finca. In the three days that I was on the farm, probably 80{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} came from the land. Our quick trips to the colmado next store, are now only to stock up on onions, garlic, beer, and cheese. Not bad.

Taino Salad

A healthy salad made with fresh green peppers, tomatoes, onion, papaya, radishes, and cilantro. Serve with a vinaigrette dressing and enjoy with a cold glass of beer.

What really resonated with me was the immeasurable amount of energy and love that have gone into this piece of land. This is what gives it a strong sense of place and what makes the food grow. In just one afternoon, we harvested red leaf lettuce, fresh cilantro, green beans, green peppers, habenero peppers, and eggplant.

Taino Farms Annual Garden


The farmer’s footstep is the best fertilizer they say and I know it’s true. No matter what day I go there, I’m always greeted by the smiling faces and the steady pace of Victor, Juan, and Nao, our local team of full time farmers. These guys are awesome.


Thanks to all the hands that have put themselves into  energy a positive path for Finca Taina. The project has grown amazingly and is starting to find itself as it matures. It’s clearly a product of the quest for a stronger meaning in life. Those that visit the farm and have given a part of themselves to it will never loose that experience. It is sown in the earth and will continue to nurture life that is full of love, health, and intention.






“Sometimes you hear a voice through
the door calling you, as fish out of
water hear the waves, or a hunting
falcon hears the drum’s come back.
This turning toward what you deeply
love saves you.”
— Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

It can be hard sometimes to turn my back on good wind and waves rolling into Cabarete. It was especially hard this week after a fairly hectic and rainy Semana Santa, but the rain also means opportunity to plant at the farm.

The tranquility on arrival immediately made it worth the trip. I brought some friends along and we arrived to a happy Victor, Neo, and Juan Carlos, ready to feed the animals from a field grown especially for animal fodder.

sheep feeding

sheep feeding

So far, most of my involvement has been with the plants and the bees, so it was really nice to learn a bit more about the other animals on the farm.

We are currently on a mission to increase the numbers of chickens for both meat and egg production. It was great to see one of the hens sitting on 12 eggs and lots of fuzzy baby chicks running around. There were some neglected eggs that must not have been fertilized, so victor gave us the go ahead to eat them. Words can’t describe how good the meal was. We used butter (which in a few months could definitely come form our own cows) farm fresh eggs, moringa, and perennial bulbar spinach, scrambled it up to perfection with Auyama (farm grown fresh local pumpkin), and then seasoned it with a bit of salt and home made habanero hot sauce.  We planted some more Rambutan trees, and later got a visit fromm some of the bees coming to investigate their wax that we’d experimented with to make candles candles.

farm fresh eggslaying hen


Later in the day, we did the essential mulching, planted out loads more pumpkins, moringa, cucumber, melon and made some more batata cuttings. Then we went for a river bathe / swim. As the sun set, I studied hard all the notes I could find on permaculture, the individual species we’re interested in, and searched out our dwindling seed supplies and began formulating Ideas to improve a couple of the food forests as well as making plans for the one at the Extreme Hotel.

food forest

permaculture greenhouse

There are so many options and details to consider when designing a food forests, but the main goal is to have multiple layers and each species performing multiple functions. Here is an example of the different layers:

1)    A tuba layer (ex: sweet potato, elephant ear, yuca),

2)    Ground layer (ex: pumpkin, bush beans, melons),

3)    Shrub layer (ex: chillies, basil, amaranth, hibiscus, okra),

4)    Climbing/vining layer (ex: mulbar spinach, cucumber, winged beans),

5)    Small or Dwarf Tree Layer (e.g Suriname Cherry or any other small tree)

6)    Main tree layer made generally of Fruit and nut trees.


farm fresh lunchfarm fresh eggs

Of course no good tropical permaculture forest is complete without a Banana or Papaya Circle too.

We are also promoting wildlife with Rock piles for lizards and perches for birds. As with all things permaculture these form multiple functions. Not only is it nice to have wildlife, but they also control pests and deposit nitrogen.

bees wax

Anyways, there are millions of options and we can’t yet be sure what’s going to work best in our location, we’ll just have to  experiment and wait and see. As long as we keep to permaculture principles and improving the soil with nitrogen fixers and planting decent ground cover, we are sure to improve the situation and potentially harvest a good amount of food whilst we’re at it!

Post by Charlie Durrant


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!