My dream and project, begun decades ago, is building and growing an organic and diverse food forest that can provide Guanaja island with more local and organic produce, making it less dependent on inorganics and deliveries from other countries and hopefully serving as an example for local farmers, ultimately helping to inspire a Honduran production of local and international sales of organic foods. Additonally, we are re-building an eco-accommodation and farm experience for travellers that appreciate these values and want to enjoy the experience of a remote, rich environment as well as fresh-from-the-farm meals.
In contrast to clear-cut farming, a food forest is a sustainable form of farming that, for example, doesn’t cause erosion of sediments that can kill the delicate reefs nearby. A food forest is an example of perma-culture, with companion planting an important element for us, here.
We are growing more than 150 species of herbs, vegetables, spice, fruit and medicine trees and soil enriching trees between the nursery, vegetable gardens and food forest including papaya, pineapple, plums, coffee beans, nutmeg, cinnamon, okra and amaranth.
We also make wine, jam and other fruit and farm products.
I always say that if I can grow this farm into what I’ve always dreamed of, I will die a happy man! If you inch us a little closer to our dream, we will surely remember you.
My story… In ‘78, having finished a decade as a motorcycle racer, I left Germany to see the world. After a year touring Central America on motorcycle, experiencing the rich cultures of the region and escaping a war in Nicaragua, I discovered, and fell in love with, Guanaja Island, Honduras. After working in island farming and fishing for 5 years, I purchased my own land for the farm. While the island turned its focus to the fishing industry, regrettably neglecting farming, I stuck with it. Forty years later and I’m still here.
I raised two girls and a boy on the Island who have left for University while I remain here; still pursuing my dream.
I first learned sustainable farming and a passion for natural foods on my grandfather’s farm in Germany. He always said that the most important goal in farming was to keep, and leave, the soil as fertile, or more so, than it is when we begin. This small region of Germany was a pioneer in organic farming, rejecting GMO and fertilizers from the very beginning. We strive to follow this and other practices and try to protect the ecosystems of the island and, with equal passion, the sea that surrounds it. Myself and my team are still learning modern sustainability and environmentalism and welcome news and knowledge in this field, from travellors.
A note on the island and our location. Christopher Columbus landed here on his fourth voyage to the Americas and referred to it as the island of pines. Guanaja is the most untouched, green and lush and mountainous of Honduras beloved bay islands, and one of the most untouched in the Caribbean. The island has many ecosystems including coral reefs, beach land, beaches, mangrove swamps, tropical forest, pine hills and, at the stop, grass savannas. Understanding these different ecosystems is key as different species we grow are compatible with different ecosystems. Guanaja’s forest was the first forest declared a protected area by Honduras.
Types of help and learning opportunitiesGardeningDIY and building projectsGeneral MaintenanceFarmstay helpHelp with Eco Projects
UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
Depending on the work needed at the time of your stay, your role and interests, you can learn island farming, food-forest farming, reforestation, building skills and boat stuff. Learn to make pizza and bake bread in a wood-fired oven. You will also learn the history of the island and region and see traditional island life in the local towns.
The majority of the work needed is farming work. With the guidance of our four permanent workers, volunteers will plant trees in the food forest and work in the vegetable gardens.
Additionally, there is some landscaping, jam bottling and preparation of other fruit and farm products.
Volunteers can have some choice in choosing their tasks.
For those with experience, there is cement and building work, as well.
It’s expected that you have a good work ethic and can follow instructions. As is the German style, I can be direct with instructions and communication but this doesn’t mean I don’t like you! Most volunteers do a great job and I’m more than satisfied with their work.
Accommodations are basic. There are bedrooms in a house or on a sailboat or camping depending on the amount of visitors and workers at the time of your stay. Feel free to ask ahead about what is available.
Using our food, volunteers can cook themselves basic meals for breakfast and lunch with well stocked food supplies (rice, beans, eggs, fruit, coffee etc). There are herbal teas from our farm. Dinner will be cooked for you, including pizza night once a week. Tap water is freshwater streams from the interior of the island and is drinkable (everyone on the island drinks it). Trips to the “cay” (the town) happen a few times a week and additional food, groceries and beer can be bought there at reasonable prices, if desired. Note that while there is a full kitchen, there are only small amounts of fridge space for each person. This is partly due to the property being powered by solar and wind and the limited number of fridges that we run.
Beer, wine and liquor can be bought from the dock bar.
There are a few lodges and resorts with restaurants within a ten-minute walk and a village with cheaper restaurants a 30 minute walk away.
Note that this is a farm and a work in progress with many things and areas under construction or in the early stages of growth. It is a working environment and not a resort. Fruit trees harvest at different times and can be bare or unripe at the time of your arrival, depending on the species. Currently there are ripe papaya, mangoes and plums, among other things, that you can help yourself to.
What else ...
Transportation to the island is by ferry from Trujillo Wednesdays or Fridays at 1 pm or by daily flights from La Ceiba or Roatan. As we are a ways off the mainlaind, the ferry is $35. In some cases, I’m willing to contribute to, or cover the full cost of the ferry. Myself or team members Marco or Tigre will pick you up by boat at the local marina or airport.
Transportation around the island is mostly by motorboat while some island towns are accessible by 2.5 hour hikes.
Our bay has a beach to swim and there’s a reef for snorkeling a short kayak paddle away. You can fish off the dock and sail on small boats (if you know how to sail without supervision) and hike (including one trail to a waterfall in the interior of the Island).
After work, we often drink beer or house wine on the dock.
I have friends that you can hire to learn diving and there is one PADI certified dive school on our end of the island.
Guanaja is one of the few places in Central America where English is the primary language due to its Caribbean settlements. Spanish is a close second.
It is a safe island and crime is non existent in our part of the island and nearly the same island-wide.
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
How many Workawayers can stay?
More than two
3-4 hours a day 5 days a week