San Ignacio, Belize-Belmopan, Belize
Today was easily the best day of the trip so far, a trip to Nana Mensa’s organic farm in Belmopan taught me so much and made the vision of a farm even more realistic.
The day started off with sunrise meditation, something that I do every chance that I get. I went outside under my palapa around 5:15(it was still dark out) and did not open my eyes until about 5:40 when the jungle was illuminated and the birds had woken up. Their natural alarm clock is something that will never cease to amaze me.
After a pleasant waking, I decided to go for a run in the eco-village next door. After running to the top of the mountain I found myself in awe at the beauty of the Macal River Basin, this extremely historic river was once the single way in and out of Mayan territory. The pure beauty of this country always….actually I’ll shut up and let the view explain itself:
Following my run I had a short amount of time to get showered, eat breakfast, and get to the Maya Mountain sign to get picked up by the shuttle to catch the bus to Belmopan with Mary. After a quick ride on the Jasmine shuttle to San Ignacio, we were Belmopan bound. The bus is transportation for everyone from school children to farmers headed into work. The huge diversity of commuters was very evident, this continues to achieve my goal of getting a real taste of Belizean culture.
After an hour or so on the bus, we were in Belmopan at the bus terminal. We had planned on waiting a bit and catching the next bus towards Nana’s place so we ran across the street to the market to get some watermelon and canteloupe..as we got our goodies we found out that Nana was waiting for us to take us to his farm. Just outside of town we headed down a long gravel road through the jungle until we came upon rows of plantain trees and a few greenhouses. I was in heaven. Nana has worked on a wide variety of organic farms and is the director of Belize Organic Family Farming. Meeting him felt like the start of something huge for Grassfed, these are the people who will make our success blossom into something that will change the world and help promote The Grassfed Way.
Our first mission was to tour the farm and get a feel for organic farming and some of the methods that Nana uses to help different fruit trees and vegetables work together symbiotically to allow all of the farm to thrive. Things like planting cacao under plantain trees were something that most would never think of, but his genius mind has utilized a lot of uncommon practices and proves to be working very effectively already. I had the chance to eat a lot of fresh things like Moringa, Mulberries, 2 varieties of limes, and the best cherry tomatoes that I have ever eaten in my life. Hurricane Earl did a tremendous amount of damage to the area but Nana had done a really good job of saving as many trees as he could.
After seeing what his farm had to offer, we got to learn to make a few organic products that go along with maintaining a farm that also keep costs as low as possible: Organic Chicken Feed and Compost. Each of these replaces the commonly used toxic options that most farmers around the world use in daily procedures. These are also practices that I will be using on my organic farm in the future. Perhaps the most interesting part was when Nana said, “now we must head to the bush” and we loaded up the van with buckets, shovels, and the most important of all Belizean tools: the machete. We were on the hunt for a fungus that grows under leaves at the base of trees, this white mold-like substance is a key ingredient in the fermentation process of making both recipes for the day.
I definitely was not properly clothed for this type of adventure, wearing shorts, Sperry’s, and no socks was a horrible idea(in my defense I had no idea we were going this far into the jungle). A few different times I had red ants crawling all over my feet and biting me, now it is 10 PM(10ish hours later) and my foot has swollen up like crazy.I must be having an alergic reaction to it, I hope I will be able to get my shoes on my tomorrow morning so I can go to World Food Day, if not I will put the native healing techniques to use and be healed by one of Mary’s friends(she knows someone for every type of natural healing).
Tomorrow will be even better than today, I travel to Belmopan again at 7AM for World Food Day and will be working at the Pro-Organic Belize booth(the only organic booth at the fair).