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The Couple Who Want to Change the Farming Industry in Colombia: Starting with Education and Permaculture

Tucked away in the hills of Arcabuco, Colombia, sits a house.

By sara burdickPublished 3 months ago 4 min read

Inside the house is a man (Alejandro), his girlfriend (Margarita), and their dog (Oreo); they relocated from Bogotá with a dream. To start a permaculture farm, to live with one in nature.

To produce most of the food they eat, educate the locals on the benefits of living in harmony, using only what is needed, and giving back to earth what is taken.

My first time visiting El Pentagono Verde was in April of this year. I booked a room at their home; it is also listed as a hostel but very rural and different from your typical hostel.

It is quiet and peaceful, and they also provide meals since the town is a 20-minute drive away. When you step onto the property, you can feel the love that has gone into the soil, mostly Alejandro and Margarita doing it all, a labor of love.

They plan in a circle, as well as on the lunar cycles. Planting the way the indigenous cultures once cultivated the land and using every inch of space, including planting corn with beans and pumpkins.

This helps enrich the soil; what one takes, the other gives.

The land before them moved there was just grass, and they produced over 80% of their food. They plant more trees daily to increase the land’s biodiversity and medicinal herbs.

Alejandro believes in preventing illness in the soil and plants versus treating illness. In his garage, he has buckets full of what I call swamp water, but he has them divided so each is enriched with nutrients to fertilize the soil; one is banana/plantain leaves to give potassium, the other is nettle, and one is aji.

He keeps an eye on each daily to ensure they are healthy and, in turn, beneficial for his plants. The garden is impressive; only five months earlier, it was much smaller, and now it is a food forest.

They have a garden, chickens, and five cows, and they milk one to make yogurt, kefir, and cheese. I got to watch the process of his cheese making when he made Cuajo; it is a type of cheese that he said is one of the oldest ways to make cheese.

It was delicious.

I always feel that you call those in your life who resonate with your path. In my case, he is doing what I plan on doing in the future. He has bigger plans than just being able to feed himself and his family; he wants to educate the farmers around him.

Most of them use poison to prevent bugs and are uphill from him. They do not understand how to care for their dairy cattle to produce better milk and keep their cows healthy and happy.

The goal is to educate those around him so they can create better quality products and, in turn, make more money, which is always the farmer’s problem anywhere in the world: how to make money as a farmer.

When I met them, I automatically resonated with their goal and vision for living. Alejandro quit his job in the city, and his family thinks he is crazy to go live on a farm; however, he feels that it is his calling to live in nature and be one with nature.

The proof is in what he is doing: the land is thriving, and he educates himself and shares what he is doing with the world, or at least his neighbor or me, who is very curious about the whole process.

It is not an easy way of life; it can be challenging, but he has goals, a vision, and a dream.

That is more than most people have, and more importantly, he is actively pursuing the dream. Living the dream, so many want to live their life but will never take that step to do it, and when the hard work, most people will give up.

It is similar to my life; I wanted to change, so I did. So many people tell him and me, well, you are lucky, you have XYZ; no, he made it happen, I made it happen.

There is no luck in what we are doing; we made an active choice to change, and when you follow your gut and intuition and the calling, you will find a way.

Living so close to nature makes it hard to see any other way to live. The peacefulness, the harmony, knowing what every plant is, and knowing what ailments they can treat or ease.

Knowing that your garden is nourishing your body, mind, and soul. There is no greater way to live. I enjoy my time there, and of course, I like to pick his brain, as it is fascinating how much he knows, primarily by asking others who understand and reading a lot, studying what works and what doesn’t.

Trial and error.

Taking a chance.

If you want to see what they are up to, follow them on their Instagram, or if you are in Colombia, stay there and see for yourself. He also teaches others what he is doing.

He has had students from Engineering schools come to learn sustainability, and he hopes to host tourists who want to know about permaculture (if you are interested, message him).

Everything they do has a purpose and can be reused; nothing goes to waste on their farm. It was a blessing that I stayed on their farm this spring and met those living proof that anything you put your mind to can turn a dream into reality.




About the Creator

sara burdick

I quit the rat race after working as a nurse for 16 years. I now write online and live abroad, currently Nomading, as I search for my forever home. Personal Stories, Travel and History

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Comments (2)

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  • Ghulam Fayyaz3 months ago

    nice way to write a story

  • Just like you, I deep resonated with Alejandro's vision gor living too! What he's doing now is so wonderful!

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