Informing Sustainable Agriculture in Belize

800 450 Stroud Water Research Center
Diana Oviedo-Vargas, Ph.D.

By Diana Oviedo Vargas, Ph.D.

From coconuts to cacao, the first and only certified B Corporation in Belize, Silk Grass Farms, is deploying new farming techniques and production capacity to benefit local communities. Silk Grass Farms is also investing in understanding and protecting water resources in Belize. 

In 2023, researchers from Stroud Water Research Center accepted an invitation to explore the farm and create a plan to evaluate its freshwater resources to ensure agricultural production does not negatively impact water quality. 

Silk Grass Farms is a collaborative venture led by Mandy Cabot, Peter Kjellerup, and Henry Canton, D.V.M. Familiar to many in Chester County, Pennsylvania, as the founders of Dansko, Mandy and Peter have worked with the Stroud Center in several capacities over the years, including through serving on the Board of Directors. Silk Grass Farms occupies 10% of the total land area encompassed by the 27,500-acre Silk Grass Wildlife Preserve. Additionally, the business is actively applying numerous insights gained from Mandy and Peter’s enduring friendship and involvement with the Stroud Center to their operations in Belize.

Until now, no scientific studies have assessed the condition of freshwater resources in the area. I have the pleasure of leading the Stroud Center team on a comprehensive evaluation of water quality of the farm’s many streams and rivers. Our plan includes the examination of biological, physical, and chemical characteristics of over 15 stream sites during the wet and dry seasons of 2024, as well as the installation and maintenance of automated sampling devices to monitor water volume, temperature, and electrical conductivity of selected sites. In addition, these data will provide a holistic profile of the surface water resources on the farm throughout 2024. 

We are excited to explore this new region. As the first team to systematically measure and document the properties of these streams and their inhabitants, we recognize the unique opportunity provided by Silk Grass Farms and Mandy and Peter’s leadership. Stay tuned as we begin our research in this new and exciting landscape!

Learn More
Take a video tour of Silk Grass Farms.