Finca Santa Marta is turning 3 years old this month. It was 3 years ago that we began planting trees to help the Garcia family. Over the years as the farm has grown so has the vision. The trees were planted to provide food and jobs for the locals of Santa Marta. This is still the main focus, but we have expanded into providing education for all. Within this mission the intent with our food is to grow, clean highly nutritive foods that will heal the earth as well as the people. We plant to educate, empowering the local community as well as visitors, about different methods of agriculture and sustainability. As we see it the options for education are infinite when you are working in nature. Moving forward in an ever-gloabalizing world, education, agriculture and sustainable design are required for humans and nature to flourish. This began as a dream but has grown into a movement.
The passion for farm-to-table cuisine is how it all began. I would cook a farm-to-table “fundraiser” meals for friends and family in Iowa as a means to raise money to plant trees for the Garcia family. This allowed us to plant nearly 1000 trees within the first year of operation. With the growing enthusiasm, our dinner parties continued to other cities including Denver and New York City.
A year ago I conceived a new method of raising money to plant trees and we set up a website called http://runplantempower.com/. The goal was to raise money by running ultra marathons, something I had never attempted before. I decided to run a 50 mile trail race in Colorado called the Leadville 50 and then a 100 mile trail race in Washington called the Cascade Crest 100. The race in Colorado took place between 10k and 13k ft. I finished in just under 11 hours. The 100 mile race took place 2 hours west of Seattle in the Cascades. The course had 20k ft of elevation gain and 20k ft of loss. A magical and challenging experience. I finished the latter at around 31 hours. Both races presented many obstacles but none too big to prevent me from finishing them. Throughout, the main inspiration was always to plant more trees at the Garcia family farm and by the end of it we had raised around $5,000 dollars. Of course it was all worth it and a reminder that with a little persistence and hardwork you can always achieve a goal.
Every dollar since those races has been used for paying local employees or planting more trees. With this momentum, we received a letter back from the I.R.S this last spring that granted us permission to operate as a 501c3 public charity, based in Colorado. Since then, we have received amazing support from the Living Closer Foundation. (http://livingcloser.com/) They have helped out tremendously and their contributions have allowed us to begin work on the medicinal herb garden, which will provide invaluable medicine and education to the local community and visitors of the farm. Already we have begun development on the Butterfly and Bee Sanctuaries.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
I am amazed by all that has happened in the last year. There has been so much support and passion from everyone! What started as a simple idea has grown into something beautiful, meaningful and with a global purpose. Two weeks ago our first intern moved down to the farm. In the future we will host many more interns to provide opportunites for both teaching and learning.
As we continue to progress and grow with the farm we are constantly learning. We learn more about the community; we learn more about the eco system most importantly, we learn more about ourselves – we become more connected. I am forever grateful to all who have supported us along the way.
Thanks and Appreciation,