Sunday, 13 December 2015

Developments at Curaçao

Permaculure develops at Curaçao 

Band'abou is the western part of Curaçao. Here used to be the agriculture. Nowadays there isn't much left. Roland's family still owns an old 'kunuku'* with lime house, but the land is overgrown with Neem and Noni trees and Kadushi, an edible cactus. The good news is: Roland has permission to start a permaculture project there!
*Kunuku means something like 'vegetable garden'.

Locally grown veggies 

Looking for organic food in the supermarkets Roland didn't find much. There are imported products, the same brands you see in Dutch supermarkets (organic brands too). No local organic vegetables or fruits … yes, one exception: fresh sprouts (micro-greens) with the brand 'Nos Kunuku'. He bought a box. At home he googled and found the facebook page: He made an appointment with the owner, Henny Barbolina. 

Nos Kunuku 

Four years ago Henny changed from regular agriculture to organic. He knows the permaculture principles and tries to apply them as much as possible. It's a way of development. He says permaculture is like nature in the tropical rainforest. There is always an abundance of food, not grown by humans, but by nature itself. No energy is wasted. He discovered 'aquaponics', based on old knowledge combining culture of fish and vegetables. In this video Henny tells about aquaponics, about the importance of local production and exchange with other permaculturists (in the USA mainly):

Eco Village SOL 

From the Netherlands Roland had e-mail contact with Salomon Bomberg of Eco Village SOL (facebook page: ). Salomon wants to start Curaçao's first 100% self-sustaining community. It's not only agriculture, but a centre for development and exchange of knowledge. Salomon did research on green techniques as well as personal growth. He is very interested in Fibonacci's findings on numbers in nature.

Numbers and permaculture 

Salomon showed Roland the land he is cleaning, together with some volunteers. In the past it was a junkyard, full of rusty car parts. A part is already cleaned and changed into Salomon's own specific sort of permaculture. He experiments with numbers, trees planted in pentagon and hexagon shape. In this video he tells about it:

He has some cows too, for them he is making stables and grazing fields in a hexagon shape. It is divided in six parts, while the cows graze one part on the other parts new grass grows. You can see it in this video:
Salomon's greenhouse is a double dodecagon, or a lemniscate, the shape of 'flowing energy'.

Info, photos and videos by Roland van Reenen, (v)ITAL, facebook page:

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

News from Curaçao

A new permaculture garden at Curaçao

Roland enjoys the tropical climate of Curaçao. But he found out the difficulties too. Curaçao is an island with a low groundwater level. When it rains most of the water flows down to the sea, taking the top layer of soil with it. The wind blowing all the time makes it even dryer. Leaves falling from the trees don't stay underneath, but are blown away. So there isn't much natural composting.
Roland decided to help nature in his garden and made a video of it:

Fruit trees

Roland was very happy to see plenty of room for a foodforest garden around the house. And some large fruit trees are there already! Mango, soursop, noni, pomegranate, marva, moringa, a coconut palm and a seagrape tree. And there is an Aloe vera (as usual in Curaçaoan gardens). Roland discovered even acerola-cherries are growing in his garden. But there are iguanas too, they like to eat from the trees before there is time to harvest!
Iguanas also like eating small seedlings and cuttings. So all seeds are sown in pots in the 'nursery'. There the first bananas are growing, as well as cassava or yucca (Rolands favourite) and turmeric.

Soon to come: Roland visits other permaculturists at Curaçao

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Roland left his job in the Netherlands behind and started something new in the Caribbean region. 
photo: hibiscus, medicinal herb from Suriname 


Roland was in Suriname several times before. He has friends in remote jungle villages, who grow their own food in the traditional way, without the use of chemicals. Click this link for a video on their agricultural methods, f.e. the use of Neem leaves as a natural insecticide.


Last October he went there again. After a long boat trip along the Suriname River, he arrived at Pikin Slee. The foundation Totomboti has a museum there. They promote both traditional Saamakkan art and work of artists who live there now. Also the foundation helps preserve the natural surroundings of the village, where shamans find their medicinal plants. This jungle is like a living farmacy! 

He also visited friends with permaculture and organic farms, and the Matoekoe project helping handicapped children with the products of an organic farm.
Roland started the connection between these projects in Suriname and his project at Curaçao. His goal is to share the knowledge these people have. The name of his project is (v)ITAL. ITAL is the word for (traditional) organic food in Suriname, coming from Jamaica, meaning the combination of 'I' (the human being) and 'nature'.
One more video on organic farming in Suriname:


November 3rd Roland arrived at Curaçao. He was surprised to see the large garden around the house of his partner. Plenty of room for an edible garden! Also a small tree with fruits suprised him, it was just like the handpainted plate he got as a goodbye gift from the Dutch collegues he left: the pomegranate! 

Roland contacted Salomon of eco-village SOL too. You will read more on that another time. And you can follow his Facebook page

Saturday, 29 August 2015


This is the first of a series of articles about edible plants growing at Curaçao. The information for this articles is provided by Salomon Bomberg (Eco village SOL) and Carlos Leonora (Inge's husband).

Kalalu (organic or wild spinach)

The official name is Amaranthus dubius Mart ex Thell. In English it's 'spleen spinach' or 'Chinese spinach'. At Curaçao they call it kalalu (pronounce kah-lah-loo) and most people consider it a weed. Only a few know it's a high growing plant they can eat like spinach. It grows all over our land.

In the kitchen

In the past at Curaçao this 'weed' was eaten by the poor people. They mixed it with mashed potatoes or with 'funchi' (corn flour, like the Italian 'polenta'). If possible they prepared 'stoba' (stew) with some meat, onions, garlic, hot pepper and kalalu, to serve with the 'funchi'.

As a cure

Kalalu is also a medicinal herb. As a herb tea it helps calming asthma attacks, for both adults and children. The leaves and flowers are cooked in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Then the tea is sieved through a cloth.
The cloth, wetted in kalalu tea, also can be used. Spots of eczema are treated with it. For some consecutive days these spots are packed in the wet cloth.

Feeding the chickens

Chickens love kalalu, so it was often used as chicken feed in the past. We started feeding it to our chickens and now experience the eggs are of better quality.

I never saw this plant with a disease, it's a strong plant. In spite of all advantages of kalalu, most supermarkets don't sell it.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Permaculture Curaçao: CuraDura project changes

Permaculture Curaçao: project changes 

CuraDura was presented as a starting project at the island of Curaçao. Now we have some reasons to change our direction. Following the principles of permaculture often leads to changes.

Permaculture at Curaçao 

The project (an eco camp site at Curaçao) is still something we look out for. But now it's more like something you see vaguely in the far distance. Before we can reach it, we have to follow the path that's right in front of us. What do we see there? Eco Village SOL! A project already taking shape (read more).

This project needs more attention. It's the first real Eco Village at Curaçao. Salomon and his voluntary helpers are doing their very best to apply permaculture's principles. But they are a very small minority. 

The challenges of Curaçao

Permaculture or organic farming isn't easy at this Caribbean island nowadays. Halfway the twentieth century almost all inhabitants started working for the oil refinery. Farmers left their land, smaller gardens were neglected, the old skills were (almost) forgotten. Then the situation changed again. Less workers were needed at the refinery. Many people left the island (most of them migrated to the Netherlands, easy with their Dutch passport). The politics of Curaçao changed their view to large scale tourism, like other Caribbean islands.

In general people at Curaçao don't know anymore about the rich possibilities of the soil under their feet. The use of certain trees, shrubs and herbs as food, medicine or material … only few people still remember. How to build a house of local materials, how to have a cool house without airco, how to use your own force, without being dependent of factories and stores, subsidies, etc.; this knowledge must still be somewhere, hidden in people's minds.

Discover that hidden treasure! 

This is the new direction of CuraDura: rediscovering that knowledge, finding the people who still remember and who can tell about it. Activating these people so they want to share their knowledge. CuraDura will provide the needed platform. First it's here at the internet. The next goal is to organise real life workshops.

No matter where you are: Curaçao, the Netherlands, or anywhere else. If you can add to the knowledge needed to apply the principles of permaculture at Curaçao … all you have to do is contact CuraDura. Together we'll figure out the best way to go on together.

More news: videos 

Not so long ago Roland contacted us. He is going to Curaçao soon. He and his Curaçaoan friend are very interested in permaculture. They want to support CuraDura. First thing they are going to do there is help Salomon at Eco Village SOL. Roland had a very nice plan: he will make videos! His videos of Eco Village SOL, and other subjects related to permaculture, will become part of this blog. Don't miss it: submit!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Eco village SOL

Information on our partner project at Curaçao 

Eco Village SOL 

Eco Village SOL is a project at the island Curaçao. Salomon Bomberg has started it some years ago. After some try-outs at different spots, he found a piece of land at Santa Catharina. It's close to the bay of Sint Joris, in the eastern part of the island. Even though part of the 4 acres of this land was a dump for used cars, it's well situated and has potential for Salomon's plans. 

 view from the wind mill 
volunteer working on the land 

Mission and vision 
The mission of Eco-Village SOL is to become a 100% self-sustaining community, dedicated to research and education on the environment and sustainable living and tourism. It will be a model for a new way of living, a place to heal, grow, re-awaken deeper aspects of ourselves we have forgotten in the frantic and hectic pace of our industrialised world. It's a playful, creative and spontaneous journey and an intense unfolding of what it feels like to be alive, connected and nurturing towards ourselves and the fragile eco-system in which we live.
Eco-Village SOL envisions a world of diverse ways of being, united in harmony with each other and the planet, a world supporting the nourishment of each person's self-expression.

Eco Village SOL is focused on 
becoming a model of sustainability at Curaçao 
incorporating the latest green technologies in design and infrastructure 
actively encouraging teachers and workshop hosts to come and teach various aspects of personal growth, organic farming, sustainability, green technologies, etc. to children and adults  
promoting the research, development and use of earth-centered technologies 
encouraging and promoting cross-fertilisation of ideas and resources among ecological organisations and the Curaçaoan population 
becoming a center where people can live and work on various eco-related projects 
developing and nurturing a sense of community 
becoming a center for teaching, exploring and encouraging cooperation and action towards a sustainable Curaçao 


How is it doing now? 
Salomon has started creating the eco village at the 4 acre piece of land. Together with a group of five people, most young volunteers, he is cultivating the land in an organic way. They do their best to apply the principles of permaculture. They are creating a model for permaculture on the island of Curaçao, they are pioneers here. 
They are digging some wells. More animals will come to join the two cows: chickens, goats, more cows. 

There are no financial means. That's why the workers are volunteers, who are motivated by the vision and mission of Eco village SOL. Donations are used for the equipment. A pick-up and a tractor are available for use when needed. To get some income, Salomon designs and creates gardens for others. But most of his time he works at Eco village SOL. Selling products of the land (starting in the near future) will provide the money for the projects. 

First the housing for the workers will be built. The lodges and other buildings will be made of natural materials as much as possible. The buildings will be designed like organic structures, for example domes. There will be a presentation room, a restaurant and some kind of accomodation for tourists. 
one of the cows 

Eco tourism 
In the future Eco village SOL will attract tourists who want to experience this way of living and who want to contribute to the independence of the Eco village. In the Sustainability Center students will have the opportunity to follow lectures and get explanation about new, sustainable techniques. This place will be hosting a think-tank of various environmental and sustainability organisations. Conferences on related subjects will be organised. Guests will have access to all aspects of the community. They can dine at the organic restaurant, where they can eat the food right off the land. 

Eco-Village SOL will become a resort that enriches nature, rejuvenates the community and guests and applies: bio-architecture, water harvesting and recycling, permaculture, cold fusion, gravity, electromagnetic and plasma technology, holistic healing, agnihotra and resource based economy. It seeks to cooperate in a non-competitive manner with other organisations for the benefit of humankind.

More information and pictures:

“Permaculture is the match maker, creating passionate love affairs between rain and plants, humans and animals, and ultimately achieving systems that produce enough natural resources to provide for their own maintenance and reproduction. In this type of system the primary concerns would not be mass production and economics, but 'people care' and 'earth care'. Because successful permaculture requires great inputs of knowledge of natural systems, creativity and expertise in a number of different areas, the ideal of 'people care' encourages individuals to share both their crop yield and their knowledge and talents. 'People care' also encompasses the ideal that, just as an individual should care for the earth, the earth should care and provide for that individual. Each permaculture system is thus developed and personally tailored to suit the needs and desires of the individuals for which it provides. “ 

Monday, 6 April 2015

A nice spot to start the project

I visited Curaçao. I was there for the Plein Air painting festival, as well as to do some research for the Cura Dura project. Before I went there I was in contact with Salomon Bomberg, who started Eco Village SOL at the island. He is a busy man, working on his eco farm near Santa Catharina, together with his brother and some boys (who are educated on the job there). Still he found some time to show me another spot where an ‘eco village’ is possible. I consider that spot ideal for Cura Dura! 
our 'logo' is already there! 

Just outside the outskirts of the neighbourhoods of Willemstad, before the more natural part of the island (Banda’bou) begins, there is an open terrain. A new, ‘green’ housing project is planned there (by FKP, Fundashon Kas Popular). It's called 'Wechi' (or 'Weichi'). At the south of that plan there is a natural hilly ridge. It is not part of the housing plan, but an ‘eco village’ is planned there, with the help of Salomon. Now he doesn’t have much time anymore for that plan, but together we could do it! Will you join us? 
Want to know more? Please contact me, Inge. 
 Here the new neighbourhood is planned 

 This tree indicates 'the spot' 

 In this direction is protected nature 

  The edge between the planned 'eco village' and the protected nature area 

 Cactus on another hill in the ridge 

Can you imagine Cura Dura eco village here too? 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

News from Curaçao

NEWS soon to come ...
It's about this interesting 'spot': 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Join us!

We’ll start a project, in which nature & environment, culture & art, and a healthy way of living come together, at the beautiful Caribbean island of Curaçao.

Do you want to join the project-group? Can you help …
… organising the project at Curaçao?
… giving advice from wherever you are, via internet?
… doing work for the project at Curaçao?
… investing in the project?
… other: ………..

(photos: bananas and papayas growing at Curaçao) 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


What is CuraDura?

A plan, project, idea, dream, … providing a basis for activities, in which nature & environment, culture & art, and a healthy way of living come together.
This future project I describe here as if it’s already existing.
We’re busy getting a project-group together now. 

passiflora suberosa, our 'logo' 


At the beautiful Caribbean island of Curaçao! At a quiet central spot, starting point for hikes in nature, trips to the beach or to Willemstad.


It involves different target groups. It’s an ‘eco-camp’ for tourists. It’s an accommodation for workshops, attracting both locals and visitors.
We, the project-group, come from different directions. We’re tied together by our love for Curaçao, for nature and for humanity.

Eco-camp, what do you mean?

Curaçao isn’t regarded ideal for camping. Nevertheless this is almost a camping site. Imagine an oasis; small (2 and 4 person) holiday-homes shaded by palm trees, separated by cactus bushes and a garden full of fruits and vegetables (‘permaculture food-forest’). A larger central building. All built in a sustainable, eco-friendly way, with local natural materials such as palm leaves. Still everything modern tourists need is there. Electricity and hot water from solar panels and a comfortable designed interior, with smart natural ventilation.
Even for die-hard-campers who bring their own tent there is a tree-shaded field. Hammocks are available!

Really sustainable?

Our aim is to make it possible to fly from Europe or USA to Curaçao (and back) and have your CO2-emission ‘zeroed’ by your accommodation.
Sustainable includes a human aspect. This project provides nice paid work for a diverse team of Curaçaoan people. It provides education for co-workers and visitors. As far as possible it gives access to all kind of people, including handicapped and disabled people (and their helping dogs).

Will it be fun?

Of course different people like different things. This is the place-to-be for nature-lovers, art-lovers, active families who want to go to the beach some days and join organised activities other days. There's a lot of room to play for children. 

What activities?

A choice of creative, artistic, educational and sportive activities both indoors and outdoors. The central building gives room to the indoor activities. Outdoors there's the play-field and trips to interesting spots on the island, by foot, bike or mini-bus.
Our activities are healthy, peaceful and eco-friendly

What’s healthy?

The permaculture garden provides healthy fruits and vegetables. Our kitchen prepares healthy meals and smoothies with these products. Next to the ‘restaurant’ there’s a ‘spa’, using regional herbs and sea-products for treatments.
Also healthy is the quiet natural environment. We (you too) help this environment stay healthy, even become healthier! So a rule is: no smoking!

What workshops?

A workshop is a short course, one to a few hours, on one day. We offer an opportunity to local and international ‘teachers’ to teach about something they know. Short creative, cultural or artistic workshops, but also education on aspects of nature, environment, sustainable solutions, health, etc.
We hope to provide a choice of different workshops and trips every day. For everyone: old and young, tourist and local, all together. This ‘togetherness’ is an extra cultural aspect … people from very different backgrounds get to know each other.

Is that all?

You want to do more? You can work in the permaculture garden, the kitchen or the service (and get paid!). You can organise your own workshop, trip or other activity. And there are many activities organised by different organisations all over the island.

Can this be affordable?

Of course it isn’t cheap. But you will get value for your money. Our goal is not to get rich, but to make this sustainable project a success.
If you have barely enough to pay the flight … you can bring your tent and camping gear and work for us to earn your stay!

What’s exciting about this small island?

Curaçao has hundreds of wonderful beaches at the South. Willemstad is on the World Heritage list. These two facts most tourists know.
There’s so much more … the list could be endless … CurAloe aloe vera plantation, Ostrich safari, windsurfing at Sint Joris Bay, Dinah Veeris herb garden, kayak trips, Hato caves, salt lakes, Christoffel mountain and national park, Shete Boka at the North coast, the old plantation houses, some of which now are museums (varying from modern art to the not-so-nice slave-trade history of the island), etcetera, etcetera.

Join the project group?
Want to know more? 

fruits on a tree at Curaçao