Sustainable Harvest International Belize Partnered with Cotton Tree Lodge
Yesterday, today and tomorrow -
by Joanie Alexander, friend of Chris and the lodge
At the 2006 NOFA (Northeastern Organic Farmers Association) Conference, I heard Florence Reed talk about Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) projects in Central America, including Toledo district, Belize, where my friend Chris Crowell was building a jungle lodge.I was excited to learn that SHI was teaching farmers to grow food sustainably, enabling families to continue their village lifestyle. Meeting with Flo afterwards, we both agreed Cotton Tree Lodge (CTL) and SHI might work together.
Sarah Kennedy, SHI Outreach Director at the time, planned a visit for me to the Honduras SHI program in November 2006. The Honduran farmers and their families were proud and excited about their new farming methods, giving a higher yield and greater variety of vegetables. Many were raising chickens in coops designed by SHI, harvesting the manure for compost, selling eggs and chicken to their neighbors. They were building a demonstration garden/education center.
Soon Candido Chun of SHI Belize, Chris Crowell at Cotton Tree Lodge (CTL) and Greg Bowles at SHI Maine began brainstorming ideas and funding options for a joint venture. The lodge opened January 1, 2007. SHI held a board meeting there in February. That spring a foundation offered support for an additional field trainer who would develop an SHI demonstration garden at CTL and work with farmers in neighboring villages. -Joanie
Today the garden is thriving and our partnership with SHI strengthens with each passing year. In addition to its projects in the garden, SHI now offers volunteer opportunities to Cotton Tree Lodge guests who would like to work on a meaningful project in one of our neighboring villages.Sustainable Harvest International runs Sustainable Chocolate Trips which stay at Cotton Tree Lodge and incorporate chocolate making activities along with several days of volunteer projects.Please contact Emily Hewes, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about any of these initiatives.
Sustainable Harvest International partners with Cotton Tree Lodge to offer unique voluntourism opportunities. Participants can stay at Cotton Tree Lodge and take part in a variety of cultural activities, eco-tours and service projects with local families. Activities may include planting trees, building gardens and constructing wood-conserving. In addition to volunteer projects, there are opportunities to tour local Mayan ruin sites, visit jungle waterfalls and take part in cultural events. Go to: SHI Voluntourism Opportunities for full details.