Written by Karen Davis-Brown
As U.S. expatriates with a passion for Costa Rica, spice growing, and sustainable agriculture, Steven Farrell and Henry Karczynskimet while on the board of directors for the Asociacion Nacional de Agricultores Organicas (ANAO), a Costa Rican sustainable griculture organization. Since their involvement with the creation of a national certification agency twenty years ago, they have continued to work together to promote biodynamics to the country as a viable tropical agricultural system. Steven teamed up with New Chapter to establish Luna Nueva Farm, and Henry developed his vanilla and spice plantation, Villa Vanilla.
Villa Vanilla is a spice farmlocated in the Central Pacific rainforest tenmiles east of Quepos and overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park. Certified organic since 1992 and Biodynamic since 2000, the plantation includes twenty-seven acres of agricultural production and 125 acres of primary and secondary rainforest. Cash crops include vanilla, true Ceylon cinnamon, cocoa, black pepper, allspice, turmeric, cardamom, fruits, essential oils, andmedicinal plants. Sheep, goats, cows, and chickens are an important part of this diverse operation. Villa Vanilla’s agriforestry approach also supports a variety of wild birds,monkeys, and other animals native to the area.