Punta Cana is not traditionally a center for agriculture. The Ecological Foundation is committed to small-scale, local vegetable production using locally produced compost and worm compost, our vegetable nursery covers several acres of year-round production and provides local restaurants, residents of the Punta Cana community, and the restaurants of Puntacana Resort & Club with fresh produce.
The Foundation currently produces arugula, lettuce, eggplant, peppers, melons, tomatoes, chives, cucumbers, peppers, basil, cilantro, plantains, pumpkins, fennel, mint, parsley, beets, and other herbs and spices. Plans for expansion include additional greenhouses to further supplement the needs of the resort.
The Ecological Foundation began its worm compost project to convert organic waste from the kitchens and gardens of the resort into soil and other products. Using California Red Wiggler worms (Eisenia foetida), a species that can consume their own weight in organic trash daily, the Foundation began working with the resort’s kitchens to convert tons of food waste into highly productive worm compost.
More recently, the Foundation has sought the advice of international experts in worm composting in order to expand its production, make a more consistent product, and be able to sell our worm compost consistently to the golf courses of Puntacana Resort & Club.
When founders Ted Kheel and Frank Rainieri first began Grupo Puntacana over 45 years ago, they encouraged their workers to keep bees and produce honey to produce extra income. This tradition lives on at the Puntacana Ecological Foundation.
The Ecological Foundation works with a local beekeeper to produce approximately 2,000 gallons of honey a year, in addition to royal jelly, bee pollen, and wax for candles from approximately 500 bee colonies distributed throughout the Puntacana Resort & Club. Puntacana Forest Honey can be found and purchased at Tortuga Bay, the Six Senses Spa, the Punta Cana International Airport, and other locations in Punta Cana.
Growing Organic Fish + Vegetables Together
Aquaponics is a sustainable fish and vegetable production system that combines traditional aquaculture (farming of aquatic animals) with hydroponics (growing plants without soil in water) in an integrated environment. The fish waste provides organic food for the growing plants and the plants naturally filter the water in which the fish live.
Our Aquaponics system has produced so far over 30 pounds of vegetables (spearmint, basil, lettuce, mint) and recently produced its second harvest of tilapia, yielding 169 pounds of fish.
Though Punta Cana has little soil cover and consists mainly of hard limestone rock that makes vegetable production difficult, in 2003 the Foundation initiated a small-scale vegetable garden. Despite less than ideal growing conditions, Punta Cana has several advantages for vegetable production: year-round sunshine, a local market of hotels and homeowners to buy fresh produce, and large quantities of organic waste material that can be repurposed into compost.
The Foundation currently produces arugula, lettuce, eggplant, peppers, melons, tomatoes, chives, cucumbers, peppers, basil, cilantro, plantains, pumpkins, fennel, mint, parsley, beets, and other herbs and spices. Plans for expansion include additional greenhouses to further supplement the needs of the resort