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Partnering with Nature at Finca Jibairo

HidrOrgánica’s Farming Style
Publication of Discovery: Dec. 31, 2021
Issue: December, 2021

On the northeastern side of Puerto Rico lies a farm that serves as example of agroecological practices, sustainable approach, and determination for making the best of nature’s offer: Finca Neo Jibairo. A walk on this farm, located in the Municipality of Río Grande and managed by HidrOrgánica, let us witness how farmers and Mother Earth work as partners for the raising of crops. Antonio Castro, one of the farmers, enlightened us about cultivation techniques applied that consider the relationship between living organisms and surrounding environment, and about their environmental conservation practices.

While walking on Finca Neo Jibairo, Antonio explained how they adapt to circumstances while still working with nature. Since it has frequently rained for the past year on the area, he said that currently most of the main supply focuses on fast growing crops such as eggplants, kale, pigeon peas, tobacco and hydroponic butterhead lettuce. Antonio proudly mentioned that these agricultural products, except for butterhead lettuces, as well as cassava (another principal crop) and plantains are cultivated on rows of mounds made of organic compost for better preservation and other benefits. According to him, such technique allows draining off excess water from seeds and roots, preventing rot. Antonio added that planting roots on mounds minimizes impact on land. Also, a mound may be used more than once so other plants take advantage of its organic compost’s nutrients, as stated by him.

Antonio continued talking about other agroecological practices carried out in the farm. As we saw eggplants on mounds, he showed recyclable plastic laid over mounds, and its holes necessary to enable plants’ development. He mentioned such plastic helps keep moisture and prevents weed growth over mounds. This technique is applied in substitution of chemical herbicides. Also, Antonio explained the agroecological strategy behind planting cosmos flower plants nearby eggplants area. He said cosmos plants protect eggplants from strong wind, attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and aid for drawing pest away from the eggplants area where marketable products are cultivated. In addition, Antonio informed they make and use natural pesticides and use other agroecological means.

It was pleasant looking at plant variety at Finca Jibairo. Besides the high-yield crops (main supply), we also saw green bananas, plantains, passion fruit, avocado, oranges, soursop, acerola, herbs, and the interesting loofah (luffa). Antonio mentioned flora biodiversity is beneficial for organic farming since no artificial pesticides are used in the farm and they rely on natural plague-control methods. He explained that cultivating different plants minimizes crop losses as pest tends to be attracted to certain flora rather than all.

Antonio pointed out organic material buildup for purposes of compost creation. Fruit peel, eggshell, used coffee grounds and field residues such as leaves and grass clippings are among the ingredients of good organic compost, as mentioned by him. He said it is important for the material to be a balanced mix of dry and moist components since too much water may rotten it while lack of moisture would affect microorganisms that are essential for decomposing organic matter. Therefore, Antonio said it is necessary to frequently check the organic material’s moistness.

In addition, Finca Jibairo uses sustainable energy and water resources for its operation. Antonio explained that 40 solar panels help generate electricity for all equipment used during daytime. At night, batteries that stored energy generated by solar panels are used. He also said that rainwater is collected for the farm’s irrigation system, and gravitational force helps it flow through their pipe system. He added that a drip irrigation method (drop by drop) is used for water conservation.

It was gratifying seeing the fruits of HidrOrgánica’s farmers efforts and passion for working in harmony with nature rather than against it. The main farmers, Francisco Castro, founder of HidrOrgánica, Antonio and Cristina González along with other staff members are key for Finca Jibairo’s production.

Guided tours are available at this farm on Monday and Wednesday at 10:00 am and Friday at 4:00 pm, subject to prior reservation. On Friday (4:00 pm -11:30 pm), you may enjoy infusion-specialty cocktails made with farm products such as herbs, edible cosmos flower, acerola or passion fruit, as well as appetizers and music band in lovely Café Jardín (previously known as Café Monarca) located in the farm’s premises. Glamping lodging is also available. You may contact the farm about any other opening hours, if any as exception. T: 787-598-0240 W: E:

tour provider: HidrOrgánica
book here
where the crew ate: At Home
photograph by: N. Michelle Rodríguez

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all details with the pertinent businesses before planning your trip. Please be cautious. The company behind this publication assumes no responsibility for your safety when participating in the activities mentioned in this article. You are responsible for confirming whether you are capable of participating in any of these activities or tours, regardless of the effort level or any other information provided in this website.


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Michelle Rodríguez, San Juan, P.R.: “During the guided tour at Finca Jibairo, I sensed Antonio’s pride and love for Puerto Rico and earth.”


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