Friday, 30 December 2016

Project Plan

Next step in the process ... 
  1. Project idea
  • realise CuraDura at Curaçao (make it happen)
  • care for people (including myself) and Earth
  • eat healthy, live healthy, experiment, share the abundance

  1. Founder
Inge Maria (Leonora-)den Ouden, illustrator, certified energy savings advisor and permaculture designer (soon)

  1. Place
  • Curaçao, there where's room to realise it
  • needed: shelter and land and the abundance nature and people offer
  • a place accesible for all kind of people (and animals)
  • developing into a permaculture food forest & educative centre (incl. eco-camp)

  1. Product(s) and service(s)
  • education / advice on permaculture and a healthy lifestyle; other courses / workshops; garden products; creative crafts products; gardening work
  • trading (exchanging) and sharing
  • colaboration with likeminded people

  1. Market
  • target audience: everyone who's willing / interested
  • distribution: at the spot and elsewhere if there's room / transportation
  • development of permaculture → more clients and more produce
  • PR: mouth-to-mouth and internet; provide news for newsmedia

  1. Co-operation
  • encourage colaboration of existing organisations, like v-Ital, SOL, Koperativa Fresku i Orgániko
  • 'each one teach one'

  1. Human resoources
  • who wants to join can do so whenever and in anyy way they want
  • share the products together
  • free and voluntarily
  • at their own risk

  1. Investment
I invest my strength, skills, commitment and knowledge (and curiousity) in this project

  1. Finances
  • basic principle: no money, only the existing abundance
  • needed means: space (room / land), time, natural growth, 'waste material', fysical and emotional commitment
  • in some cases it might be necessary to use money, to pay or get paid (preferably those two are in balance)

  1. Planning for three years
  • in three years: experiments are going on, the shelter is being built, there's rainwater catchment, the food forest is growing and producing, workshops (on healthy lifestyle), exchange markets and other activities are organised
  • we do not use money, there's abundance

Practical steps:
  • search for people who are willing to help (likeminded)
  • search for land, provided by someone backing the project
  • observe the place thoroughly, think over all possibilities, brainstorm with others
  • keep all permaculture principles in mind
  • use what's there and what you receive
  • make good use of offered services and materials
  • think of the best function(s) for the offered materials
  • (re-)use as much as possible of the water, soil and materials
  • make good use of wind and sun, but prevent their negative influences
  • build the network of likeminded and positive people
  • chances for all kind of people
  • produce what's needed, based on what's available and possible
  • quality over quantity
  • don't do too much, let others do their part and colaborate
  • see the positive side of 'failures' and 'mistakes'
  • take a next step when needed / possible
  • if needed adjust the plan

Plan originally written in Dutch 2016 Dec. 4-7, by Inge Leonora-den Ouden
Translated in English 2016 Dec. 30.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Moringa trees

Moringa (Moringa oleifera) is native to the Indian subcontinent. Now it grows in tropical and subtropical areas all over planet Earth. 

Functions of Moringa:

Sunday, 27 November 2016

News of CuraDura and v-Ital

It was a long time ago, not meaning there was no news … on the contrary: there was so much to do, there was no time left for writing! 

First that is the case with Roland and v-Ital. Roland lives on the island of Curaçao for a year now. During that year he planted a food-forest, and he started his organisation. The difference between living in the Netherlands (before) and in Curaçao (now) is striking. Although this Caribbean island is part of the Dutch kingdom, its rules and laws are very different. Or you could say: most of the rules do not exist at Curaçao. There's so much freedom to do what you want … I (Inge) can't imagine it fully (I only was there a few times for a month).
First Roland had an underpaid job there, but suddenly there was the opportunity to start an organic farm, together with some others.
Then he started organising networks: one for the organic farmers on the island, the other for their potential clients. He met Gianne Balentien, who already started a cooperation of clients for organic foods: Koperativo Fresku i Organíko. Meetings, lectures and courses brought more people together. They visited farmers, made some videos there, like this one:
In November they started with a 'vegetable and fruit bag', all locally grown organic products. The succes was overwhelming. There's long waiting list …

Because of all those things happening at Curaçao, my feelings for the island are coming back. Some time ago I said I wanted to stop CuraDura (and hoped someone else would continue the blog and FB-page). But I know now Curaçao is really 'addictive'. My mind was full of ideas for starting permaculture (and eco-tourism) there … I tried to slow down those thoughts, because also here in the Netherlands there's much to do for the permaculture … But now on both sides of the ocean the interest for permaculture is growing, and in a country like the Netherlands there's more need for people who are able to change laws and rules (which I can't) … maybe there's more I can do there on the island in the Caribbean …

While I am still here in the Netherlands, I am doing the online course for the PDC (Permacultuur Webschool van Maranke Spoor & Lucas Brouns ) and I work as a volunteer at the community garden of Permacultuur Meppel (no website, only a FB-page). Thus I am enforcing my skills and permaculture knowledge. And, as you see, I am writing for CuraDura again!  -Inge Leonora-den Ouden - 
Photo of Permacultuur Meppel, made by Arina 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Wild vegetable called Bembe here in Curaçao

The soft, succulent leaves of Bembe have more omega-3 fatty acids than in some fish oils. If you are a vegan and pledge to avoid all animal products, here is the answer! Go for this healthy dark-green leafy vegetable and you can forget about fish!  

Botanically, this herbaceous leafy vegetable belongs to the family of Portulacaceae and scientifically known as Portulaca oleracea. Its English name is Purslane. There are varieties which differ in leaf size, thickness, leaf arrangement and pigment distribution. This hardy plant requires relatively little water and soil nutrients. It grows well in sunny climates. The plant grows up to 12-15 cm in height as a low-lying spread.

History of Bembe in Curacao
Nowadays no one is interested in consuming this plant and it grows everywhere and does well in this dry environment.
Here are some photos I took.


Health benefits of Bembe (Purslane)
This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 kcal/100g) and fats; nonetheless it is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids (a-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh leaves provide about 350 mg of alpha-linolenic acid. Research studies show that consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and help prevent the development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.
It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and an essential vitamin for vision. It is also required to maintain healthy muscles and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Bembe is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.

Selection and storage
Wash fresh leaves and stem in clean cold running water in order to remove any sand and residues. After removing from water, mop it with soft cloth to remove any moisture in them before storing in the refrigerator.
Bembe can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days, but should be eaten while the leaves are fresh and not wilted.

Preparation and serving
The stems and flower buds are also edible. Trim the tough stems near roots using a sharp knife. Cook under low temperature for a shorter period in order to preserve the majority of nutrients. Although antioxidant properties are significantly decreased by frying and boiling, its minerals, carotenes and flavonoids may remain intact with steam cooking.
Here are some serving tips:
Fresh, raw leaves can be used as salad and as vegetable juice.
Fresh, tender leaves are used in salads. Sautéed and gently stewed stems and leaves served as a side dish with fish and poultry.
It has also been used in soup and curry (Goni soppu curry) preparations and eaten with rice and ragi cake (ragi mudde) in many mouthwatering Purslane recipes in South Indian region, especially in parts of erstwhile Mysore province of Karnataka state.
Stir-fried and mixed with other like-minded greens such as spinach and vegetables, it makes favorite dishes.


Bembe contains oxalic acid, a naturally-occurring substance found in some vegetables, which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people. 100 g fresh leaves contain 1.31 g of oxalic acid, more than in spinach (0.97 g/100 g) and cassava (1.26 g/100 g). It is therefore people with known oxalate urinary tract stones are advised to avoid eating such vegetables belonging to Amaranthaceae and Brassica family. Adequate intake of water is advised to maintain normal urine output. 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

More crowdfunding


Roland thanks you all. He received the 700 euros he asked for!
He's still busy packing and sending the moringa tea to all addresses. After buying all needed materials there was some money left. He used it to buy some coconut and eucalyptus trees and vegetable seeds.

Roland is inspired for the proces of building up a cooperation with other small enterprises in a way fit for the future. A small amount of money can lead to big changes! His vision is more than an enterprise, it's a new society around healthy agriculture in Curaçao and Suriname.


There was a old pump in the garden, to get the water from 60 meters deep. They used the water for the garden and the washing machine. But it was broken, could not be repaired again. The tap water of Curaçao is not good for plants, and very expensive.

They need 600 euro to buy a new one. Now Roland asks 12 people to donate 50 euro each. This investment can be rewarded with some options:
  • pay back with intrest (1% average), next year on the same date;
  • 2 litres of home pressed extra virgin coconut oil;
  • 50 euro value of moringa tea;
  • 1 litre of coconut oil plus 25 euro of moringa tea;
  • a package of organically grown vegetables and fruits (what and when depends on the shipping);
  • a personal coaching skype session with Migarda Raphaëla (see )
  • a calabash (gourd), hand painted with a (symbolic) painting of your choice;
  • or you donate the money as a gift.

This is to show how this 'new society' can work. Better than to put your money on a bank account, is to invest it in a positive future.

Do you want to be one of those 12 people? Donate here: IBAN NL42 INGB 0006 7995 46 of A.C. van Reenen in Curaçao. Add the option of your choice. 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Greening Curaçao part 2

So you understand: only mulching is not sufficient at Curaçao. Best would be to use wood chips, a layer of 12 cm (5”). Because I don't have wood chips, I had to find a way using materials I do have.
I have a large poly bag, it can last at least a year in the sun. I cut it and laid the parts on the soil. 

In this way the soil can stay moist a little longer. 
For two hours I pump air through the water, using a fish-tank-pump. The water is passing an 'emploder', existing of two vortex shapes and two magnets. This makes the water more lively. Then I add bokashi compost and epson salt to the water. This makes the water comparable to rainwater. 

This water mixture I use to wet the soil several times before planting. Then I planted Tayer leaves (Tahitian Spinach, Xanthosoma brasilense).

Next time: more plants and more on the emploder.

Kind regards, Salomon, Eco-village SOL 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Lectures on permaculture at Curaçao

'Koperativa Fresku i Organiko' (Cooperation Fresh and Organic) organised an evening of lectures in Papiamento. First speaker was Gianne Balentien. She told how people become more aware on healthy food. We, consumers and gardeners, shape the future. We have to take it in our own hands. That's why this evening was organised.

Then guest speaker Ruben Prince explained the basic principles of the best solution for agriculture at Curaçao very well. The main principle is restoration of the soil. At Curaçao the soil is rich in nitrogen, but poor in organic materials. He recommends making compost. A compost pile has to be four parts carbon (plant materials) on one part nitrogen. Every four days you mix your compost. If you keep the compost moist, after 28 days it's ready for use.

Watering plants with the tap water of Aqualectra is not good. The pH of this water is too high, it's about 7 or 8, while plants need about 6.5. It contains chlorine too, killing all organic material (that's what it's for).

Because of the erosion the temperature in the uncovered soil rises to 45 degrees (C) during the day. Such a high temperature kills everything living in the soil. So the soil must be covered, this is done with 'mulch'. Mulch is a layer of organic material (leaves, wood chips, grass, cardboard, paper) of about 20 cm, to cool down the soil temperature to about 23 degrees (C). That's a nice temperature for your tomato and pepper plants!

Then he told about the iguanas: feed the enemy! Plant a reserved part in your garden with 'iguana food', so they'll stay there and won't eat your edible plants.

More information on permaculture, f.e. the chicken tractor, manure (how much and when to use), etc. you can visit him at his terrain near Sint Joris, where he is busy providing Curaçao professionally with organic food products.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016


As you know at Curaçao it's hot and the soil is often eroded. There isn't much life in the soil there. In this blog Salomon shows us, in pictures, how to make the life turn back into the soil.

Needed materials:

coconut peel
bokashi (fluid compost and the residu)

Soak the coconut peel and carbon in water with the fluid bokashi compost for 24 hours. The microbes enter the coconut peel and the carbon. 
Dig about 10 cm deep, put the soaked coconut peel and carbon in there. 
Wet it all with the water and bokashi. Put soil back on top. 
Then add cow manure. Keep the soil wet for a few days.

Then start planting. More on the plants will follow later.


In such a hot country protection from the sun is really needed! You can do this with wood chips, at least a 10 cm thick layer.


Bokashi is a fermentation of vegetable and fruit rests with Effective Microbes. It's done in a special airtight closed bucket.

Saturday, 5 March 2016


Roland wants to thank all who donated for his crowdfunding. The amount of money he asked for is not yet there, but now he can start his next project (small greenhouses).
In exchange for your donation you'll receive some Moringa-tea. Roland is drying leaves, flowers and bark of the Moringa tree for that tea now. Moringa is called a 'wonder tree'*. 

If you did not yet donate, or if you forgot to add your address for the Moringa-tea … the crowdfuncing action has not yet ended ;-)
Bank account NL42 INGB 0006 7995 46 of A.C. van Reenen, Julianadorp Curaçao. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Crowdfunding for V-Ital

Greenhouses of shadow cloth 

After experimenting for some months at Curaçao, Roland understands 'greenhouses' are needed to grow vegetables in this climate, on this soil. The 'rainy season' ended, it did not bring the expected amount of rain. Green is changing into yellow and brown. September or October, the start of next rainy season, is far away. Permaculture can do a lot of good here, even change the climate for the better!
Growing vegetables at Curaçao during the dry season is only possible with 'greenhouses' of shadow cloth. That's an investment. Roland is glad he found a paid job at Curaçao (tourism). But to build some small 'greenhouses' with a wooden frame and shadow cloth, he asks for help. Greenhouses keep iguanas out too, animals eating vegetables. And Roland wants to start with aquaponics
Iguana at Curaçao 

He calculated: for those investments he needs a total of 700 euros. He asks you all to give him 10 euros. Within a few months he'll send you a bag of moringa tea. Those who give 20 euros will get a bag of marva (wild origano) tea too.
The bank account is: NL42 INGB 0006 7995 46 of A.C. van Reenen, Julianadorp Curaçao. Mention your name and address so you can have your herbal tea(s). Thank you.

Banana circle

In this video Roland and his friend show how they made a 'banana circle':

Soon to come: the vegetables growing at Rolands permaculture garden now.  

Thursday, 28 January 2016

New garden adventures at Curaçao

Roland's wish since many years was: to visit Dinah Veeris, the famous herb-woman of Curaçao. So he did, as this video shows:


A concern Dinah shared with Roland was the drougth of the soil. Even in the rainy season. Many medicinal species disappear because of burning sun, blowing wind and the totally eroded soil. Growing vegetables is a problem too.
The island's industry pumps away much of the groundwater. But that's not all. The people have the habit of sweeping their garden clean. They remove all undergrowth. So the soil is freely available for blowing with the wind and flowing in muddy streams when there's a rainstorm. No nutrition is left in the soil.

Videos of solutions

Roland showed his efforts to start composting. Compost is indispensable for the soil. The next video shows his new experiment: 'Hügelkultur'. Organic materials are hidden in the ground, on which vegetables will grow. The organic material fixes the moisture in the soil.
How he builded a 'greenhouse' is shown here:
As you see the purpose of this tropical 'greenhouse' is to give shadow. So it's made of green 'shading cloth'. An easy way to irrigate with plastic bottles is shown here:

Green grass growing

After two months of rainy season the barren terrain turned to green. Grass was growing all over! Roland first reason to let it grow was to hide his okra plants and small moringa trees for the iguanas. 

Almost daily handy men came at his door, offering to help get rid of the grass (for a few guilders). But the garden flourishes with the grass. The sun does not burn on the soil anymore. The falling leaves stay in the grass and start composting.

Greening deserts

The next step will be: mowing the grass, but leave it there as mülch. Together with branches and leaves of trees, the grass is a source of energy given by nature. There's no need to buy manure.
In this way even deserts became green again. In Brasil agriculturers apply the principles of the rainforest, by covering the soil with organic materials. The soil turns more and more fertile. It holds humidity, the temperature drops a little and it even gets more rainy.

A greener Curaçao

Roland is very glad he can help Curaçao, and the climate in the long run, with his experiments. More people see the benefits. They ask him for help to turn their terrain into a green oasis.
He is also happy with this terrain at Bandabou:

All vegetation there will stay. The paths will remain. This terrain will be a centre for teaching permaculture. Roland will start some Hügelkultur there, swales along vegetable beds and other experiments to show interested Curaçaoan people how permaculture works.