As Griet and Anna say, they’re not farmers, they’re protectors of their land, doing everything they can to bring their little bit of nature back to its true state of biodiversity, aliveness, and energy. Their two properties, Hotel Cala Luna and La Senda Farms, are inspirations for this philosophy of regenerative agriculture put to practice.
Hotel Cala Luna and their sister property, La Senda Farms and Labyrinth, are an inspiration when it comes to regenerative agriculture – which is the conservation and rehabilitation of an area through conscious food and farming practices while focusing on topsoil, biodiversity, and water -- and their 100% organic practices cultivate biodiversity, water conservation, and a nurturing of the soil rather than an exhaustion of it. In fact, the farm produces not only its own organic fertilizers and pesticides, but 80% of all the food used at Hotel Cala Luna.
Driven by sustainable practices, the hotel and La Senda are a wonderful example of what it means to consciously use regenerative agriculture to foster an ecosystem and, quite literally, grow back a forest. Located in Tamardino, Costa Rica, owners Griet and Ann, moved to the small Central American country in 1994, and opened their luxury hotel in 1997. Not long after, they were moved to use the natural landscape as a means to share the wisdom, knowledge, and touching reality of what it means to be connected to the world around you. That’s how their 74-acre farm (3/4 of which is forest, ¼ is meadow, and 5 acres is cultivated agriculture) was born.
The farm itself , known as La Senda, is a wonderful example of what means to use nature as experience -- offering tours, farm-to-table dinners, horseback riding, zip lining, and the opportunity for guests to experience the profound and transformative energy of walking the world’s largest labyrinth.
Early on, when Griet and Ann acquired the farm, they didn’t really know what they were going to do with the property, but they allowed themselves to surrender to the energy of the land, listening to how they could best take care of it. Previously, the land had been used to raise cattle, cutting down the forest, but when that was no longer a good business, the forest was allowed to grow back, but a lot of native species didn’t grow that quickly. As locals, they wanted to help the forest so they learned how to collect seeds from native plants and trees to re-generate the biodiversity of the area so that wildlife would start to come back.
Eventually, the forest came back, the animals came back, and the nursery they were raising continued to thrive. Soon they built the labyrinth and began to grow vegetables, knowing they wanted to continue to share the experience of their land. By working with a local eco-agronomist named Carlos, they were able analyze their soil, studying the slopes of the land in the rainy season, and incorporating a philosophy of heirloom seeds and organic practices to everything they do.
The practice of regenerative agriculture – or cultivating biodiversity and regenerating our lands back to their wild, natural state -- is one of the most important things we can undertake as stewards of the natural environment. Whether a home gardener with a little plot, a few indoor plants, or acres upon acres of land, we can all do our part to promote better practices, conscious choices, and more biodiversity. For Cala Luna and La Senda, it’s as a boutique hotel that embodies the lifestyle of connected living as a farm and an experience. It’s a beautiful expression of what it means to live with nature as part of our lives and how much richer our experiences are because of it.
To learn more about Carlos and his approach to growing food and cultivating the soil, you can watch this short video about his philosophy toward the harmony of all things in the natural world.
For more information on Cala Luna visit www.calaluna.com; for more information on La Senda and the labyrinth, visit www.calaluna.com/activities-adventures/la-senda-costa-rica/.