Let’s talk about food! We have been working on our garden here for the past several years – we had a group of volunteers set it up and return to care for it. Right now it’s a bit in the need of replanting and some love. We use what we grow to supplement our residents whenever possible. That being said, we aren’t farmers, and we don’t have the time to grow enough food for three elephants, a tapir named Alma (a wildlife rehab who has too many health issues to return to the wild), the humans that live here, our dogs, cats, goats, chickens, and whatever else calls the sanctuary home at any given moment. This means no matter how much our garden is succeeding (or failing) at any given moment, we are still purchasing food.
We know that when people donate to us, they are trusting us to be good stewards of their money, and that is something we take seriously. Each donation is you voting for our organization to continue to exist. Living in rural Brazil is not without its challenges (like losing power often when it rains); however, we still try to “vote” with your donations whenever we can. This means we support local, sustainable, and organic as often as possible because that is something we would like to see more of in this world.
About an hour away from the sanctuary – which is pretty close by our standards, there is a local community garden, called the Horta. The Portuguese word horta translates, literally, as “vegetable garden.”
Community gardens are run differently in different parts of the world. In our part of the world, the folks who grow food at the Horta sell their produce, so we prioritize supporting them. We usually purchase from the same woman each time. We call in advance to see what she has and then place our order. But she waits until we arrive to harvest the produce – you can’t get any fresher than that. She will also sell on behalf of others who grow there. So if we order more than what she has in her plot, or request something she isn’t currently growing but someone else is, she will still take care of us.
All their produce is gorgeous. We love supporting the local economy and building a relationship with folks who live nearby. We’re posting photos from the Horta itself on Instagram today – so if you don’t already follow us on Instagram (@Sanctuary4elephants) you should!
We can’t get all our produce from there, but we go once a week and get whatever is in season. Depending on the time of year, the Horta may have cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and other foods too. We are also able to buy beautiful greens year around from the Horta, which the elephants and Alma, the tapir, love.
Here are some of the beautiful greens we get from the Horta – and you can see how Alma feels about them!
January 18, 2020