Saturday, November 20, 2010

Intercropping Magnet

I have a new theory--well two--that I need to test. (With more travel obviously...) So, either more people than I think practice permaculture, or I am somehow magically spirited to places where people practice this. I am going to go with the latter, no matter how incongruous that might be, and hope that all evidence of the first theory means really good things for the world.

Erin and I arrived in the Dominican Republic yesterday afternoon and after a ridiculous amount of rigmarole getting a rental car, set off for our guesthouse in the mountains in Moncion. We didn't make it there because the sun set pretty fast, as it does in the tropics, and going on five hours of sleep, I decided I would rather sleep than drive in the pitch black up a winding mountain road to a place I had no idea how to reach.

We stayed in Mao--a town named for a Taino chief, not the commie--in a giant hotel with three karaoke bars--blaring at us from all directions. Fortunately our blackout curtains kept out the sound--and the sun. When we woke up (after miraculously getting some sleep) Erin opened the balcony door to the dazzling morning sunshine. Both of us--being accustomed to the weak sun of the high latitudes recently, were physically thrown back by the intensity of the tropical light. Erin shut the door, and said "Let me try that again--more slowly this time".

After thawing ourselves in the sun like a couple of landlocked, high latitude cats for a gorgeous half hour, we set off for our guesthouse. We were mighty glad we stayed the night in Mao because the views up the mountain road were outrageously beautiful. Moncion is kind of a sleepy town with fresh, sweet air and a fair amount of chicken and donkey traffic. (Don't get me wrong--there is still merengue music belting out 24-7). Our guesthouse--Casa De Las Anas--is down a bumpy dirt alley and is nestled in a forest of fruit trees.

I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing on my round of the gardens this afternoon--oranges, avocadoes, cassava, bananas, cherries, mangoes, plantains, sugarcane, chinole and other ornamental and food crop plants I don't recognize were all growing in happy intercropped profusion in this little tiny space in the middle of the city. The oranges we ate for lunch came right from the tree in the yard and they were like nothing I had ever eaten before.

Noel, our guide--a very mature boy for his age, told us that the soil was very good, and produced very nice fruits. I am looking forward to a few more weeks of being treated to such nice fruits--grown in a sustainable way, for household consumption. I have seen this everywhere I have been in the last many months and I know that we can all do this! Anywhere!

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