Responsible Tourism at FEV
Environmentally Responsible (Sustainable) Tourism
Finca Esperanza Verde Ecolodge and Coffee Farm is fortunate to have received many international awards for sustainable tourism as well as recognition in magazines for the same including (Outside, Hispanic Magazine, Smithsonian, r:travel), newspapers (The Guardian, La Prensa, El Nuevo Diario, Herald-Sun, News and Observer), and television.
Our strategy for providing you with a small carbon footprint vacation includes:
- Electricity. 100% of FEV’s electricity is produced by photo-voltaic solar panels and mini-hydro power electric generation. FEV uses two large solar electric refrigerator/freezers.
- Hot Water. Hot water in our three-stall hot shower cabin is a 100% carbon neutral thermo-siphon system. (The same amount of carbon that is released when wood is burned is the amount of carbon that the decomposition process produces, making wood burning a carbon neutral source of energy.) Wood is readily available at FEV from fallen trees and periodic trimming of the forest canopy to allow the optimum amount of sunlight to filter through to the coffee plants below. SunShower bags are also available.
- Cooking. There are two well-designed wood cook stoves that supply about 40% of the heat for cooking.
- Composting. All organic matter from the kitchen and coffee depulping is composted in five worm composters.
- Sewer treatment. FEV has several well maintained septic systems.
- Yard maintenance. All yard work is accomplished with machete. No gas-powered devices such as weed eaters are used.
- Food. FEV has two large, organic vegetable gardens. Additional groceries such as milk, eggs, fruit, hens and homemade bread, are purchased from our neighbors. All sodas and beer sold at FEV come in returnable bottles. Our coffee is grown on the farm. Jams are homemade by FEV chefs from fruit grown on the farm. In addition, all other food items are purchased locally from locally owned stores and vendors. FEV endorses Slow Food and Locavor ideals.
- Cloth napkins. Paper napkins are not used at FEV. Reusable plates, flatware and cups are used for all picnic excursions.
- Coffee. Finca Esperanza Verde coffee (Café San Ramón) is 100% organic. Coffee is depulped on the farm. All coffee pulp is used to feed the worms in our five worm composters. Water run off created during the depulping process is filtered through 4 lagoons before the water drains into the nearby creek. The water tests clean with no residue as it leaves the last lagoon.
- Reforestation. Reforestation projects have been carried out from the time we started purchasing land in 1998. FEV’s most ardent mission is to conserve natural woodlands for migratory and native bird habitat through active protection and reforestation. Using native species such as Nogal, Royal Cedar, Inga, Erythrina, and Madrial, we are currently (2009-10) replanting a 25 acre part of the farm that the previous owners used for cattle pastures.
- Transportation. Most of the FEV staff walk to work from neighboring farms. All those coming from the town of San Ramón arrive together in one of the FEV pickup trucks.
- Building Materials. Local materials were used to build FEV including: handmade brick, bamboo, sustainably harvested lumber, and reuse of a wood house on the property when the land was purchased. Cement and corrugated roofing were purchased locally. Solar panels and solar refrigerators (not available in Nicaragua at the time) were imported from the USA.
Socially Responsible Tourism
Finca Esperanza Verde strives to be catalyst for development in the county of San Ramón, Matagalpa, Nicaragua demonstrating the benefits of a healthy cross-cultural exchange between this small, traditional Northern-Nicaraguan community and travelers from all over the globe. Finca Esperanza Verde strives to affirm the validity and importance of creating global ties of peace and friendship, while maintaining local values and customs.
Finca Esperanza Verde supports local development through:
- Creation of quality employment in the local community through:
- Paying of higher salaries than comparable labor in the local job market
- Insuring worker and their families though the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS)
- Looking for new ways to further develop the professional abilities of each worker
- Contribute to projects and human development initiatives in San Ramon through
- Direct donations to Sister Communities of San Ramon (SCSRN)’s project fund
- Facilitate donations brought by visitors to FEV to the local community
- Be a leader and example of eco-tourism in Nicaragua though:
- Continuing to create positive news about Matagalpa, and helping to lift the overall image of sustainable tourism in Nicaragua
- Being an example of the positive environmental and economic benefits that come with organic production of coffee
FEV reopens Feb. 10th
FEV in Oprah Magazine
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, David Zucchino, writes about his trip to FEV in the UU World, Fall, 2011.
The rutted road continues up a lush mountainside, past banana plants heavy with fruit and tree canopies inhabited by howler monkeys and sloths, to an outpost high in the rain forest. Carved out of the mountain 4,000 feet up, the setting offers spectacular views of the Dariense mountain range and the green valley far below.