Community commitments


How we put back in what we take out

20 years of commitment to the local area

Balgue Community watching a local match in the town

Chris Shanks, owner and proprietor of Selvista has contributed to the local community for the last 20 years. Selvista currently employs 13 local staff members and guarantees them a minimum number of hours each month to ensure that they have a sustainable income. We have continued to do so all throughout the current economical and political crisis.

Local Selvista staff using their permaculture skills in the nursery


We are committed by bettering opportunities, skills and access to information to those in the local community:

Each year the permaculture design course run by Chris Shanks and Mitch Haddad offers free sponsored placements for a globally-recognised certified course.

In Selvista we offer free English classes twice weekly to all staff and local service providers (masseuses, tour guides etc). People can come along and improve their confidence and communications skills, and have the chance to interact with foreign visitors.

Selvista staff and service providers english classes

We love to welcome school groups and use the farm as our living, breathing classroom. We work in collaboration with a Peace Corps volunteer, Kari Sandage, in encouraging the interest in gardening and ‘alternative’ cultivation methods  in young students from a local school, in the community of Balgue.

School field trip with the primary school students of Balgue.

Putting money back in the community

We use local contractors, buy local materials wherever possible and employ a local work-force who have opportunities to grow within the workplace. We have strong ties and connections to local service providers and suppliers on the island. We organise regular work for local transport providers and vehicle renters, Clandestino Tours in Balgüe. We buy our eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables from local farms and pulperias.

Health Care

Selvista has been supporting the local health clinic laboratory since April 2018, covering the salary of the lab technician when other donations and means expired. This allows the people in the local area to access simple testing procedures such as blood and urine samples without having to spend a day travelling to Altagracia to access such basic services.

Selvista ran a donation campaign in 2018 to purchase basic supplies such as toilet paper, bedding and pillows and basic sanitation products for the local emergency health center in Altagracia.

IMG_0149-min.jpgBalgue Labratory clinic, sponsored by Selvista


Selvista has provided man-power (labor), cash funds and equipment to the local water committee to ensure quality and consistent service of fresh water to the areas of Pullman, Balgüe, Madroñal and Santa Cruz.

Access roads

Selvista has dedicated resources and labor to assist with works on local roads and access paths within Balgue.  Our team work alongside those from Finca Magdalena to ensure that vehicles and travellers can pass safely and easily to the local tourist destinations popular in the area.

Balgue FC celebrating their goal in the rain in their Selvista sponsored shirts


Selvista has sponsored local and national teams, including the Ultimate Frisbee team and the local football club. Balgüe FC did not have a kit or balls to enter the Island League. Selvista happily provided a new kit and ball for the team to practice and join, getting people off the streets (and drink) and onto the field.