Starting as an unprecedented coalition of local NGOs, family farms, community leaders and volunteers, Cabarete Sostenible has evolved into a grassroots Dominican-led & volunteer driven NGO in town.
In Cabarete 31% of homes suffer from severe food insecurity. While tourism employs over 65% of the local population, it often pays a very low salary of about $200/month – about half of what the United Nations estimates a decent survival level in the Dominican Republic.
It is 8am and some enthusiastic helpers arrive at “La Cocina Comunitaria” (the community kitchen) to begin to prepare for the day ahead. This Saturday morning is the monthly packing and distribution day as part of the Food Aid Program organized by Cabarete Sostenible. By 8:45am, the center is filled with the energy of cooperation: the tables have been set, the coffee is hot, an older volunteer is in the kitchen preparing sandwiches for all participants, while others separate goods, harvest from the garden and fill the packages to be delivered throughout the town.
Cabarete Sostenible prides itself in being an organization that arose as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic to tackle growing food insecurity in the region. Cabarete Sostenible provides food relief to the neediest families and develops food sovereignty through civic regenerative agro-forestry.
What is civic regenerative agro-forestry in action? The Community Garden, which sits behind the Community Kitchen and the Community Farm, 29 acres dedicated to growing food in abundance AND regenerating the soil of the Monumento Natural Laguna Cabarete y Goleta. Both of these operate as educational centers offering practical and hands-on programming in the form of workshops, talks and courses.
By 10:30AM, 100 food packages are ready to go to the neighborhoods of Callejón de la Loma, La Ciénega, Jardín Deportivo, and Islabon, among others. A second set of volunteers, including drivers who loan their vehicles for this mission, arrive and join the mandatory training and review of protocols. Rules and regulations include: photos and images are prohibited, and volunteers are encouraged stop to have a chat with each family. The organization is adamant on protecting the dignity of the families it serves.
Any volunteers not participating in the distribution operation, stay behind to clean up or work at tasks in the garden including prepping the carton boxes where the produce came in for use in the compost area. By 1:30PM, the workday is finalized and volunteers are invited to join the Questionnaire team, which is a survey used by the organization to identify the homes in need of food assistance and care.
RealtorDR is a proud supporter of this initiative and we encourage every new member of the Cabarete community to do the same. Even one day volunteering in the garden and learning about the local produce and Dominican farming methods makes a difference.
- $5 feeds one person for 1 week
- $15 feeds a family of 4 for a week
Make a difference: Sign up to volunteer and donate at cabaretesostenible.org