March 6th, 2020

Grow, Grow, Rest...(repeat)

The giant caimito tree, better known in English as star apple, has fruited and we are now harvesting and gorging ourselves on the ones we can reach! The tribe became more food sovereign last month with us now supplementing our groceries from the garden and gleaning and incorporating more forest foods in our diet. I’ve also started sourcing more food plants in the region to make us even more sustainable in the coming months.

2 young rose apple trees

In February, participants got their first payout from the community income over the first 3 months. It was a token gesture as total income was less than $300, however it was an important step to put into practice the sharing income model we have developed at the IPC and Jessie and I were excited to do so. We have registered a Panamanian corporation for the operations of the community and as a way to structure the cooperative.

The chalkboard was getting too full and was not a dynamic way to prioritize and keep everyone in the loop, so we started having weekly meetings and made a giant calendar that we drew up on a kitchen wall which now serves as a more detailed schedule of happenings and things to do so that everyone participating can do so more autonomously.

On the farm, I cleaned and saved a plantain hill (about 60 plants) and discovered a cave and two small springs. More wood has been brought back to the house and more garden beds have been made. Keyla and I acquired more bamboo that is now drying for coming projects and Jessie has been experimenting with plantain flour as a marketable product.

One of the newly found springs

The Tribe spent more time with families and friends that share interests in Permaculture and sustainable living. Eli and Keyla spent hours playing while the adults talked! One family in particular has lived on a nearby island for 18 years and have an established permaculture food forest and cafe/guest stay. Javi there, who is as passionate about seeding the world as I, also started an organic farmers market in Panama City 4 years ago. Check out their website here: Another family visiting the islands whom normally live in the mountains on the mainland near Santa Fe have a cacao project and massage healing center. You can learn about them here:

A parade during carnival week

We also took a morning of down time to explore Hospital Point, on Solarte island, by snorkel. The day was perfect and there was intermittent coral and some schools of fish to admire.

Snorkeling spot at Hospital Point

Well things aren’t all rosy. Community income last month was practically non-existent for a number of reasons; lack of certain materials have kept us from bottling the cleaners until this week so promotion was also curtailed and we have had several computer issues that have delayed events. We are finally up on Airbnb but have not yet gotten guests? Looks like I may need to register with a few more sites which takes time as I can’t do this kind of work from home. Not sure if I have mentioned this before but we are limited by the lack of network around the base camp and also have to juggle with the local transit system that runs between 6:30AM to 7PM intermittently. Until we have more tribe members or more clients we can’t consider getting our own motorized vehicle. The thing that bothers me the most however is the smell of burning garbage on days when the weather blows it our way from the far off dump! Not sure how to tackle that problem yet... ideas are brewing and I am open to hear yours.

Experimentation is welcome here and we have a few experiments on the go ... curing bamboo, seeding trials and best practices for our garden beds to name a few. We learned how to climb with ‘manejas’ ropes and harvested a bunch of cocos with this tool and technique.

Latest coco harvest!

There is a new web page on our site! Its the Offerings page, found under the community tab, where we now showcase services and products we are making and selling. And I’ve also updated the Participants page to include Jessie (and children) whom are now officially tribe members!

Click here to see a medley of short videos from the last month.

Lately, a lot of attention has been put toward making a cafe sit spot in the back of the house and as of this writing the platform where a table or two will go is half complete. Also for this base-camp cafe project and beautifying the house we cleaned and painted the entire lower wall of the exterior back, made signs for the cafe and had an artist volunteer from Chile create a beautiful mural for passer by’s. Her website is

Thank you Coni for the beautiful mural

I’ve been desperate for more hands for the heavier work so I finally hired on my indigenous friend Celestino for a month, with the intention that he becomes a trial member after the 4 weeks of paid work (30 h/w), so in the next update I’ll let you know what his future intentions are. In the same vein, Jessie and I created a Work Away host profile and the moment it was up we had 3 potential volunteer requests! So ... tune in next time to find out who came and what happened!

Lots of love and strength,
Your IPC correspondent,
Ivan Tattoli


Older updates can be accessed on our Archived Updates page.