About.

Maya Mountain Research Farm is a registered Non-Governmental Organization working at the intersection of agriculture and ecology. We specialize in repair of damaged landscapes, and also do renewable energy work in communities. Working in communities in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, we envision an evolving economy built on agroforestry.

Location & Land: MMRF is in a beautiful location. Located near the Kekchi Maya village of San Pedro Columbia and the Maya ruins of Lubantuun, close to the source of the Rio Grande, where the river bubbles out from the ground, there are plenty of options to get out and see things. With the Columbia Branch of the Rio Grande at its door step, and with the vast expanses of the Maya Mountains behind it, MMRF is located in a critical location for conservation. Wildlife is abundant here, with hundreds of species of birds, and occasionally mammals like ocelot, puma, jaguar, brocket deer, agouti, tapir and peccary. A high percentage of the food eaten on the farm is produced on site. Most of the work here is agrarian, involving planting and maintaining plants, harvesting and processing food. We make our own soaps, jams, vinegars and chutney. The researcher cabins, classroom, kitchen and dining area are all powered by photovoltaic or photovoltaic/wind systems.


 History & Impact: MMRF started out as a citrus and cattle farm, run by Christopher Nesbitt. In 1988, the farm was purchased and a transformation from a cattle and citrus farm into a productive agroecosystem began. Since then much work has been sunk into rebuilding the soil and creating an agroforestry system comprised of fruit trees, timber, tree legumes, herbaceous perennials and medicinal crops, as well as building housing, developing water systems, and establishing gardens. In 2004, MMRF was created. Working with a board of directors, MMRF was first a not-for-profit business, and then, after review of our program by Government of Belize, a registered Non-governmental Organization. We provide a venue for training and research, and conduct ethnobotanical research with the University of Florida. We have provided training for Peace Corps and Belize's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Department, Ministry of Health, several village councils, local schools and international Universities, as well as local NGOs and Community Based Organizations including Tumul Kin, Yax Che Trust, Sustainable Harvest International, Friends of the Valley, Belize Botanic Gardens, Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment, Plenty Belize, Toledo Development Corporation, and local community members. We have also hosted groups from the US such as Sierra Institute, Appalachia State University, Cornell, UC Santa Barbara, Miami University and Truman State University, and students from Princeton.

Permaculture at MMRF: MMRF is a very well established farm utilizing permaculture principles with over 25 years of work behind it. We host annual permaculture courses here that have both international and local participation. Courses in the past have been taught by renowned permaculture teachers Toby Hemenway, Penny Livingston, Maria Ros, Larry Santoyo, Marisha Auerbach, Starhawk, Andrew Goodheart Brown and Albert Bates. Our annual Permaculture Design Course is a wonderful way to learn permaculture, but living here for extended time is a very good way to experience crafted living systems.The farm has been designed to mimic natural processes, and, in microcosm, with our stacked polyculture, and vertically integrated components, our agroforestry system resembles the primary rainforest in structure. We raise chickens, turkeys and duck, and we also raise insects for poultry food. The farm has a piggery where much of our excess food goes. The manure is composted. The farm is set up to facilitate internal nutrient cycling.

Working and Learning: Work at MMRF greatly varies with the seasons, but there is certainly plenty of it all year long and of different interests. Interns can expect to participate in the day-to-day running of the farm, to help facilitate the courses when happening and to be in charge of a largely self-directed project if they are staying for more then a month. The day-to-day running of the farm includes activities such as gardening work (weeding, mulching, watering), food processing (harvesting, drying of beans, fermenting cacao, preparation of meals, pickles, jam, chutney, wine and vinegar), maintenance and development of the agroforestry system (mulching, pruning, tree planting), management of the poultry, maintenance of the trails and infrastructure (digging of trenches, building of stone steps or paths, cleaning of buildings, sewing, construction of furniture), feeding the pigs and chickens, data collecting, seed collecting, identification and labeling of plants.

Bookings.

$50/night

Overnight Accommodation

Maximum capacity: 25 people
Food included
MMRF can accommodate researchers and visitors on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Housing Facilities
Accommodations are simple but comfortable. In order to create privacy as well as a sense of community, the three dorms are a few minutes walk apart, they each contain a few rooms and a common space. They all have solar powered light. There is no television or radio, but plenty of hammocks, tables and games, and interns are more then welcome to bring along their musical instruments.

MMRF’s satellite internet powered by renewable energy is available at certain hours of the day, dependent on battery state of charge. Free internet is available to anyone staying at MMRF with their own wireless equipped laptop.

MMRF is a very well established farm utilizing permaculture principles with over 25 years of work behind it. The farm has been designed to mimic natural processes, and, in microcosm, with our stacked polyculture, and vertically integrated components, our agroforestry system resembles the primary rainforest in structure. We raise chickens, turkeys and duck, and we also raise insects for poultry food. The farm has a piggery where much of our excess food goes. The manure is composted. The farm is set up to facilitate internal nutrient cycling.

A high percentage of the food eaten on the farm is produced on site. Most of the work here is agrarian, involving planting and maintaining plants, harvesting and processing food. We make our own soaps, jams, vinegars and chutney. The researcher cabins, classroom, kitchen and dining area are all powered by photovoltaic or photovoltaic/wind systems.

There are opportunities to tour the site, get involved with the daily work, help in the kitchen, and enjoy the natural beauty of Belize during your stay.

Plan your trip to the farm with this in mind: The farm has no road access. The trail in can be muddy, and parts of it are steep. Interns must either walk in and out, or hire a dory.

Feel free to message us with any questions. Thank you!
$200/person

Weekly Internship

Food included
MMRF is an experiential learning center.

MMRF can accommodate researchers, interns, and visitors on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

If you have 1 or more weeks to stay, and are interested in learning experientially about permaculture and sustainable tropical agriculture, you can be an intern. You will be taught about the various systems and activities on the farm, and participate in the day-to-day running of the farm and project. Interning at MMRF is not a holiday. Expect to work hard on the farm.

These are the sorts of activities you might expect to join in:
-Reforestation of fire damaged areas
-Gardening
-Biochar making
-Feed pigs
-Produce biogas
-Plant cacao
-Plant vanilla
-Assisting Helping Older People Equally prepare food produced at MMRF for weekly elderly feeding program
-Agroforestry maintenance and expansion
-Establishing tree nurseries on the farm or in local communities
-Plant trials
-Workshop facilitation
-Food harvesting
-Poultry management
-Post-harvest processing
-Kitchen assistance
-Construction
-Vanilla data collection
-Assist researchers
-Housing Facilities

If you would like to stay more than one month as an intern (the cost of your stay is also reduced), you will still participate in the day to day running of the farm and project, but if you like we can also arrange a personal project with you. This project would take into account both your interests and skills and also the needs of the organization. Once set up, it would be largely self-directed.

Housing:
Accommodations are simple but comfortable. In order to create privacy as well as a sense of community, the three dorms are a few minutes walk apart, they each contain a few rooms and a common space. They all have solar powered light. There is no television or radio, but plenty of hammocks, tables and games, and interns are more then welcome to bring along their musical instruments.

MMRF’s satellite internet powered by renewable energy is available at certain hours of the day, dependent on battery state of charge. Free internet is available to anyone staying at MMRF with their own wireless equipped laptop.

About:
MMRF is a very well established farm utilizing permaculture principles with over 25 years of work behind it. The farm has been designed to mimic natural processes, and, in microcosm, with our stacked polyculture, and vertically integrated components, our agroforestry system resembles the primary rainforest in structure. We raise chickens, turkeys and duck, and we also raise insects for poultry food. The farm has a piggery where much of our excess food goes. The manure is composted. The farm is set up to facilitate internal nutrient cycling.

A high percentage of the food eaten on the farm is produced on site. Most of the work here is agrarian, involving planting and maintaining plants, harvesting and processing food. We make our own soaps, jams, vinegars and chutney. The researcher cabins, classroom, kitchen and dining area are all powered by photovoltaic or photovoltaic/wind systems.

Plan your trip to the farm with this in mind: The farm has no road access. The trail in can be muddy, and parts of it are steep. Interns must either walk in and out, or hire a dory.

Feel free to message us with any questions. Thank you!
$600/person

Monthly Internship

Food included
MMRF is an experiential learning center.

MMRF can accommodate researchers, interns, and visitors on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

If you are interested in staying for 1 month or more, and are interested in learning experientially about permaculture and sustainable tropical agriculture, you can be an intern. You will be taught about the various systems and activities on the farm, and participate in the day-to-day running of the farm and project. Interning at MMRF is not a holiday. Expect to work hard on the farm.

These are the sorts of activities you might expect to join in:
-Reforestation of fire damaged areas
-Gardening
-Biochar making
-Feed pigs
-Produce biogas
-Plant cacao
-Plant vanilla
-Assisting Helping Older People Equally prepare food produced at MMRF for weekly elderly feeding program
-Agroforestry maintenance and expansion
-Establishing tree nurseries on the farm or in local communities
-Plant trials
-Workshop facilitation
-Food harvesting
-Poultry management
-Post-harvest processing
-Kitchen assistance
-Construction
-Vanilla data collection
-Assist researchers
-Housing Facilities

If you would like to stay more than one month as an intern, you will still participate in the day to day running of the farm and project, but if you like we can also arrange a personal project with you. This project would take into account both your interests and skills and also the needs of the organization. Once set up, it would be largely self-directed.

Housing:
Accommodations are simple but comfortable. In order to create privacy as well as a sense of community, the three dorms are a few minutes walk apart, they each contain a few rooms and a common space. They all have solar powered light. There is no television or radio, but plenty of hammocks, tables and games, and interns are more then welcome to bring along their musical instruments.

MMRF’s satellite internet powered by renewable energy is available at certain hours of the day, dependent on battery state of charge. Free internet is available to anyone staying at MMRF with their own wireless equipped laptop.

About:
MMRF is a very well established farm utilizing permaculture principles with over 25 years of work behind it. The farm has been designed to mimic natural processes, and, in microcosm, with our stacked polyculture, and vertically integrated components, our agroforestry system resembles the primary rainforest in structure. We raise chickens, turkeys and duck, and we also raise insects for poultry food. The farm has a piggery where much of our excess food goes. The manure is composted. The farm is set up to facilitate internal nutrient cycling.

A high percentage of the food eaten on the farm is produced on site. Most of the work here is agrarian, involving planting and maintaining plants, harvesting and processing food. We make our own soaps, jams, vinegars and chutney. The researcher cabins, classroom, kitchen and dining area are all powered by photovoltaic or photovoltaic/wind systems.

Plan your trip to the farm with this in mind: The farm has no road access. The trail in can be muddy, and parts of it are steep. Interns must either walk in and out, or hire a dory.

Feel free to message us with any questions. Thank you!

Key Stats.

Year founded

1988

Size of project site

28 hectares

Languages spoken

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Ketchi Maya

People on site

40 - 45

Dry season

Wet season

Living Conditions.

Sleeping

  • tent camping
  • shared rooms
  • private room

Omnivore Food

  • communally cooked meals
  • communal kitchen access

Internet

  • medium: voice calls (no video)

Ongoing classes

  • permaculture
    daily
  • nutrition/cooking
    daily
  • plant medicine
    daily

Opportunities

Maya Mountain Research Farm is currently offering the following opportunities:

  • Interns

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