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Marley Coffee Farm, Blue Mountains, Jamaica
image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Marley Coffee Farm, Blue Mountains, Jamaica
in use
30 December 2022
"God made us lions, but gave us 2 hands so we could fish and cut bamboo"  - Rohan Marley 

JAHMAZING is a bamboo lab on the Marley Coffee farm in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. The facility was completed in January 2020 and is an educational and wellbeing space for the local community to learn about the bamboo forestry process – from harvesting to treating bambusa Vulgaris, which is the predominant bamboo species in Jamaica.
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Bamboo is a resource for the future of built environments and there are over 65,000 hectares of bambusa vulgaris in Jamaica. The JAHMAZING movement was born to help local Jamaicans sustainably leverage a regenerative resource that is abundant in their island: bamboo.

JAHMAIZING was founded by Alessandra Lo Savio and Rohan Marley with a mission to create a space where Jamaican communities have access to education around the bamboo farming lifecycle and where also international visitors can enjoy an experience in nature and learn something new.
In January 2020, JAHMAIZING completed a bamboo research lab on the Marley Coffee Farm. This venue was created to promote low tech innovation in the bamboo craft. Over 200 bamboo poles were harvested and treated by 6 local coffee farmers using a solution of boric acid / borax. The bamboo poles were selected to have a consistent 8 inch diameter and were all cut during the new moon. Once cured and cleaned, the poles were then assembled in prefab structures inspired by the “Da Vinci Arch”. JAHMAIZING is now partnering with the Bamboo Industry Association of Jamaica to promote the adoption of bamboo craft in Jamaica and provide new opportunities for the local community not just in the Blue Mountais.
Surrounded by waterfalls, lush nature and Jamaican coffee plants, the JAHMAZING bamboo lab is also an ideal spot for eco retreats.
Bamboo Treatment Process

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
The JAHMAZING bamboo lab creates a unique asset on the Marley Coffee farm. It’s an educational anchor for local farmers and their children, as well as a venue that the local community can monetize to run events such as yoga workshops. Most local farmers work as coffee pickers and bamboo can add an additional income stream to the farmers, without compromising existing crop performance. Coffee and bamboo indeed grow well together and require similar weather conditions.

In the future, we see this space being used by the people of Chepstowe to expand the local knowledge around bamboo and offer a special ecotourism experience to people who come to visit the Blue Mountains or the epic Marley Coffee farm. 

Our main impact KPI’s are: 
  • number of farmers educated in bamboo
  • number of poles harvested, treated and sold / year
  • number of eco-retreats 
  • additive local income generated from bamboo relate activities
If the JAHMAZING bamboo lab is successful in advancing our goals, the community will see tangible value and we estimate up to 25 farmers benefiting from development opportunities.
Core team
The design and construction of the project was lead by a multi-disciplinary team comprised of Eva Samalea, Nicholas Kaspareck, Jaime Pena and Sol Rodriguez. Nicholas, the project lead, was contacted initially by the client Alessandra Lo Savio, because she had seen his work with the NGO Casa Congo. Nicholas cofounded Casa Congo in Nicaragua in 2017 and built a bamboo sustainable development hub that delivers a variety of programs. 

Sol, Casa Congo’s cofounder and bamboo engineer joined Nicholas in Jamaica to lead the technical activities and organized project logistics. Jaime, the creative director of Arquitectura Mixta, had met Nicholas and Sol to build Casa Congo’s 1st bamboo hub in Nicaragua and saw an opportunity to grow the movement in another nation. Nicholas, Sol and Jaime have been working together for some time in the bio construction field - ranging from luxury yoga temples in Tulum to low income housing in El Astillero. 

Eva Samalea brought an important skillset to JAHMAZING with a focus on participatory design and community development, which she was experienced in thanks to her previous experience with NGO’s and bamboo in Africa and South East Asia. 

Nicholas’ team was met by local associations such as BIAJ (Bamboo Industry Association of Jamaica), local artists, farmers and carpenters. Rohan Marley, entrepreneur and co-owner of the coffee farm, was the local project sponsor for JAHMAZING. 
JAHMAZING core team

image: Various | © all rights reserved
Image gallery
Bamboo Lab, Frot View

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Bamboo prototyping

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Bamboo Process Poster

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Assembly process of bamboo lab

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Marley Coffee Farm

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Nicholas Kaspareck & Eva Samalea on the Marley Coffee Farm

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Bambusa Vulgaris

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Bamboo Lab, Side View

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Technical drawings
Da Vinci Arch Section

image: Jaime Pena | © all rights reserved
Help bring our project to life!

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Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
So far, JAHMAZING has achieved the following:
  • Built Jamaica’s first bamboo research lab
  • Created a case study for a 100% locally sourced building
  • Trained local farmers and donated a large amount of tools and equipment
  • Created 6 employment opportunities
  • Hosted 1 bamboo agroforestry training workshop 
We’re currently looking for global experts to travel to Jamaica to host lectures and workshops from the bamboo lab to give continuity to the bamboo learning legacy started by the initial JAHMAZING team and bring new innovations to the bamboo/coffee farms in the Blue Mountains.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
100% funding already raised
70% expertise already found
100% materials / equipment already found
100% builders already found
Skills: Design, Planning & Management
JAHMAZING requires 1 or more experts in bamboo silviculture and costruction to give a series of workshops around bamboo agroforestry and craft for 2 - 4 weeks in Chepstowe. Our lab has been inactive for the last year and we'd love to have someone come for a residency and work with the local community. Bamboo is abundant on the farm, our treatment micro-centre is functional, our tool shed is stocked with equipment and fantastic fruit is growing everywhere!
We’re looking for people who want to gift their time as part of a volunteering experience, 
allowing us to continue better educating locals and inform processes with professionalism.
Bamboo Treatment Lesson from local Jamaican trained by Nicholas and Sol

image: Simone Hamilton | © all rights reserved
Help bring our project to life!
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