Saturday, October 21, 2023

Dehab's Ultra Sustainable Farm in Kaffa, Ethiopia

I was impressed with the emphasis on sustaining community and mother

Dehab on her farm.

 that Dehab has invested in her large coffee farm in the Kaffa zone of Ethiopia. In this blog, I'll share few things, as I suspect most readers share a love of our mother earth and things that are healthy and life-giving. 

The coffee trees on Dehab's farm are growing under giant, old-growth rainforest trees in way that can only be described as magical to foreigners like us arriving from urban, agro-chemical territories. Her land is in the buffer zone of the UNESCO protected Kaffa Biosphere. Walking through the farm you feel like you're in the movie Avatar, only all the low-growth is coffee! 
Coffee growing under old growth trees.
Dehab has developed a modern honey/ bee-keeping farm which has multiple objectives: bees help the organic growth of the coffee trees. Honey is a good second income-earner for Dehab's business. She uses the honey-farm to teach bee-keeping to men and women, because she knows that the women will be allowed to do the bee-keeping business by themselves, because it is something they can do close to the home. Earning money from honey will mean that the woman has to spend less time cutting down trees to make charcoal to sell for money, which will help save the forest. Regenerative agriculture at its best, I think!

While we were walking through the farm, one of Dehab's friends, Dr. Mitzi, who

is a remarkable, well-educated, well-traveled woman with long experience with the United Nations. Dr. Mitzi is also an herbologist, and she was showing us the herbs that are growing among the groundcover plants and telling us the medicinal properties. 

Then, when the entire group (about 30-35 people) was together in the center of the farm (approximately), Dr. Mitzi had us all be still for 2 minutes of silence to listen to the earth and the sounds of the forest. For those who wanted to join, she demonstrated some yoga poses. We were silent and hear the sounds of the forest.

Pause to hear the forest.

After that, we hiked to the top of a nearby hill and Dehab pointed out an area of about 30 ha. that she does not farm so that the animals and plants are all natural there. It's like a forest reserve within the reserve. You could hear the moisture dripping, see the moss hanging from ancient branches and we happened to be there on a beautiful sunny day. Magical!

To top it off, at the end of the hiking, we enjoyed the entire Ethiopian coffee ceremony, (starting with roasting the green beans), live and close-up, while we ate lunch at the offices of the farm.

In the midst of a rainforest.

Molesh Demisse lead the coffee ceremony.

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