We believe in highlighting the good work tourism businesses are doing to promote responsible travel. In this series, we will be highlighting the work of our platinum sponsors, a group of responsibly-operated hotels and tour operators from around the world whose values align with our mission and have committed to supporting CREST for at least five years. For this feature, we’re highlighting the sustainable and regenerative farming practices of Muy’Ono Resorts, who has been a CREST platinum sponsor since 2019.
Muy’Ono Farms consists of six acres of greenhouses, fields, and trellises of crops that supply all Muy’Ono Resorts with fresh, organic produce. Christobal Teck has led daily operations since the farm was established three years ago, including its regenerative and sustainable farming practices. This blog will teach you about Muy’Ono Farms’ farming practices, including nursery operations, moon pattern planting, integrated pest management, and an innovative water system. Discover how these practices ensure a continuous supply of fresh, organic produce for Muy’Ono Resorts while minimizing environmental impact and conserving resources.
Every day, Christobal checks on the nursery first, where all seedlings begin their life. Christobal’s daughter, Xiomara, tends to each plant for 21-35 days, depending on the species, until they can be replanted in the fields or greenhouses. She replants seedlings into bigger spaces as they grow and stirs each pot to avoid algae buildup from the moisture and heat. Christobal knows each plant species’ growth rate and plans to harvest accordingly. Whatever is harvested is replenished with new plants from the nursery as soon as the beds are empty, allowing for a continuous supply of produce for Muy’Ono Resorts.
Sustainable & Regenerative Farming Practices
Christobal is knowledgeable in plants’ natural life and decay cycles, which allows the farm to run efficiently and conserve non-renewable resources. Christobal and his team cultivate almost all crops by hand, with minimal tillage. They use chicken, cow, and horse manure as a natural fertilizer. For green manure, plant residues are composted and applied to the fields, which returns nitrogen to the soil and maintains moisture. They also practice companion planting– growing plants together that mutually benefit each other. In any area, crops are periodically rotated to avoid nutrient depletion. If there are any excess produce, Christobal donates that produce to the Cayo Deaf Institute and the Belize Defence Force as a way to give back while also making sure nothing goes to waste.
Moon Pattern Planting
Muy’Ono Farms practices the ancient Mayan technique of moon pattern planting. Certain crops grow differently at certain moon stages, which affects the amount of viable produce. For example, after the new moon, the moon’s strong gravity pulls moisture to the soil’s surface, and moonlight is high, ideal for leafy vegetables but not as suitable for crops like corn which would produce more foliage and fewer husks if planted during that stage. After the full moon, the moon’s gravity becomes weaker and water seeps down, which is ideal for plants with deeper roots.
Integrated Pest Management
The farm practices an integrated pest management program. Inside enclosed spaces like the nursery, they use sun-dried habanero peppers as a natural insecticide; the scent drives bugs away. Outside, they use yellow sticky traps to catch a wide array of insects and assess the most present species, which varies depending on the time of year, and blue sticky traps, which specifically attract thrips. They also use other biological pesticides like neem oil to control pests and biological fungi to repel diamond black moths that destroy cabbages.
Remarkably, the farm’s water system also uses inexhaustible sources of energy. Two 5,000-gallon metal water tanks are set up on high ground so that irrigation is gravity-fed to production areas and greenhouses. Water is pumped by two submersible water pumps that run on solar power, subsidized by some harvested rainwater, to keep the water tanks full. A natural creek runs along the property, and Christobal occasionally uses manual pumps as a quick water source.
Farming in Belize can be challenging because of rocky soil, extreme heat and moisture, and variable seasons – the rainy season has been especially slow for the past couple of years. Christobal is proud of the farm he has developed despite these obstacles because it has been carefully designed to be environmentally conscious. However, he has bigger plans to utilize more land to grow twice as many species of crops once the rainy season kicks in. Christobal says, “Farming is not always complicated but requires time and dedication.”
Muy’Ono Farms sets a high standard for sustainable agriculture, exemplifying a deep passion for organic farming practices. This six-acre farm showcases a genuine commitment to regenerative techniques and environmental consciousness. Experience the incredible flavors of fresh produce at any Muy’Ono Resort and join the Travel Better mission for a greener and more sustainable future.
Learn more about becoming a CREST platinum sponsor.