Sign to Mariza Epicentro in front of a cactus species used to secure property boundaries
In early December I enjoyed a wonderful nine days on Marsha Hanzi’s Mariza Epicentro permaculture farm. I first met Marsha at a wedding in New Zealand in 2013 and I looked forward to visiting her farm.
Mariza Epicentro is located 20 kilometres by dirt road from Tucano, a regional centre five hours by bus from Salvador, the capital of Brazil’s Bahia state. The easiest way to get there from Tucano bus station is by taking one of the waiting cars (R$60; like a private taxi).
Mariza Epicentro’s main property has separate several buildings and the farm is divided into different paddocks to keep animals and grow crops. Luis Carlos looked after most day to day farm operations with the assistance of his brother and volunteers. Breakfast and lunch were cooked by either a mother or her daughter and the farm also employed a handyman.
Although the weather was very dry and hot (~40 degrees Celsius every day) the farm felt alive. Wild and domestic animals abounded and the primary farm property was greener than surrounding properties, a result of several years of permaculture.
There was so much life on the property that in the office I took two or three hours to notice a snake skin on the desk centimetres from my laptop. Because the skin didn’t move or make a sound I didn’t see it!
Mariza Epicentro’s guest accommodation block
My washing hanging on an outside line
On of the outdoor ‘long drop’ toilets
My room in the guest accommodation quarters
A dry field, part of Mariza Epicentro’s newer, secondary property
The half moon during the day
Cacti flower and buds
An amazing sunset
With farmer Luis Carlos; we got on very well even though not having a common language
The open cooking, dining and socialising building
With Marsha on the last morning of my stay
Marsha started Mariza Epicentro as a challenge to show that permaculture can work in marginal country. Over the years Marsha has enriched the land, planted and added buildings, with more improvements in the pipeline. For anyone interested in sustainable agriculture or self sufficiency Mariza Epicentro is a fantastic place to visit.