Dominican Republic: In 1994 Finca Girasol was founded together with the export company Horizontes Organicos. The married couple Meier, both trained Biodynamic farmers and since 1989 familiarized with tropical agriculture, has built up the Biodynamic farm Finca Girasol during the following years. In 2004 a kindergarten teacher started her work with 13 children of the farm’s co-workers and their neighbors.
Where do all the Biodynamic Bananas or Mangos, being sold in Germany and Europe, actually come from? The answer to that question leads us to the Dominican Republic. Right there, on a gentle south slope between the Cordillera Central mountain range and the Caribbean Sea, Finca Girasol is located in 10km distance from the coastline. 180 ha of land are being cultivated there, out of which 70 ha are reserved for the banana plantation. There are several reasons why banana cultivation is beneficial for the country, with its typical hot and dry weather conditions. For one, the roots of the plant slacken the ground. Furthermore the leaves offer a lot of shade. And finally the dead leaves as well as the crop make great humus in the long run. The only challenge is that a lot of water is needed to keep the banana plantation alive. In this case, the water is coming directly from the mountains.
In order to provide the farms own manure for fertilization, a cattle herd is being cultured. They are managed in a very extensive manner, that includes hand-milking every morning and during the day the cows run free with the calves. The milk is being sold on a local market. Additionally, the co-workers of Finca Girasol are holding horses, pigs and poultry. On the plantation mangos, as well as coconut palms grow next to the bananas.
The banana cultivation is very intensive and thus, the farm employs around 40 people. The heavy fieldwork is men’s work, whereas local women do the selection and packing. The families of the co-workers live in nearby villages or on the farm itself.
A Kindergarten Against (Educational) Poverty
The beauty of the Dominican Republic highly contrasts with the tremendous poverty of the majority of the population. The rich elite narrows itself down to a very small group of people. Due to the widespread illiteracy, financially weak people are often victims of dealers and moneylenders. The future perspective for the following generations is not giving a lot of hope, as the school system is not capable of educating the youth accordingly.
The married couple Meier decided to face this reality and founded a Waldorf Kindergarten. In doing so, the children of the co-workers and the neighbors would be able to walk towards a different future, especially if a Waldorf School would one day follow the kindergarten.
The trust Fundacion Nuestro Porvenir is responsible for the educational initiatives of Finca Girasol and is being financially supported by Weiling Company, a German natural food wholesale.