The Bambu Guest House opened in 2015 as a site to house the permaculture volunteers and course participants of Atitlan Organics Permaculture Farm. As such, the guest house embodies the commitment to sustainable design and regenerative living that runs through permaculture, and we strive to educate and inspire our guests to discover new ways of incorporating sustainability into their own lives. While we do host groups that are not dedicated to permaculture, it is impossible to deny the influence of this philosophy on what the Bambu Guest House is.
WHAT IS PERMACULTURE?
There are literally hundreds of definitions of permaculture and as far as we are concerned, they are ALL VALID. Part of respecting and valuing diversity and self-regulation means tolerating ideas or interpretations that one may not agree with. While we spend a lot of time in the garden and working in nature, permaculture is applicable to all aspects of life.
A more technical approach to permaculture suggests that we mimic nature and natural patterns to design and implement ecosystems that meet our collective needs. A deeper definition considers the whole of human culture and suggests that permaculture is a tool for designing new ecological culture, considering the whole of the earth in all of its strategies. Whatever definition works for you is cool. We like to say, it doesn’t matter what you call it, just so long as the work gets done!
Atitlan Organics Permaculture Farm is located just up the road from the Bambu Guest House. Many of our guests come to study permaculture with us, and the farm offers a unique and interesting element to any travel. We open up to the public every Friday at 10:00 a.m. for a farm tour.
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The original land, bought in 2009, is comprised of 2.2 rocky acres with a year round river marking the western border. By taking advantage of this river, the whole farm now has reliable, gravity-fed water, a system that has no moving parts, pumps, energy usage, or regular failures. While the land does have an abundance of water, the original soil was another story.
The whole farm is rocky and covered in only thin layers of soil. Due to irresponsible corn cultivation techniques over the past few generations, our farm soil was very worn out and, while still rich in some minerals, it was severely lacking in organic matter and major nutrients. We should note that the original condition of our farm is representative of much of the valley floor in which we are located. Naturally, the goal is that each year we are actually building more soil, covering rocks, and creating fertility.