Cotton Tree Lodge began working with Sustainable Harvest International in early 2007, just after opening the lodge. Their first project together launched an organic demonstration garden on the Cotton Tree Lodge grounds. The garden is overseen by SHI extensionists and maintained by Cotton Tree Lodge staff. Today this huge and ever growing organic vegetable garden provides much of the produce for guests and staff at the lodge. A tree nursery of hardwood and indigenous trees is reforesting some of the open land around the garden, while offering multistory farming opportunities for shade crops such as cacao. Toledo is a big organic fair-trade cacao grower and this cacao will be used in Cotton Tree Chocolate. SHI farmers from neighboring villages visit the garden for demonstrations about natural pesticides, composting, irrigation systems, and seed saving. It is a sustainable win/win project, growing every day with enthusiasm and pride from everyone involved.
As a guest at Cotton Tree Lodge you are encouraged to visit the garden anytime. It’s located just behind the Main Lodge via the boardwalk to the Jungle House. Our head gardener, Armando Sam, will be happy to show you around, point out some of the unusual tropical vegetables like cho-cho and yampi, and to explain the organic techniques used there. If SHI workshops or demonstrations are scheduled during your visit, you are welcome to participate.
The lodge can arrange for you to visit SHI family and school gardens in nearby Mayan villages with Candido Chun, SHI regional coordinator and local field trainer.