No Pickup, No Problem: Social Capital Trumps a Shitty Situation

No Pickup, No Problem: Social Capital Trumps a Shitty Situation

My hands are grappling the rumbling, rusty wheelbarrow handles, and as we walk half a mile through the village, everyone can hear the five Rancho apprentices clunk on through. In a village of 120 people, your whereabouts are everybody's business. Don't worry, I want to say, this will all make sense soon. They'll be having a chuckle by the end of the day. For now, we are five warriors defending alternative energy. We are making the best use of our woman power (and Dan power) when the white pickup truck is out of commission. We are going to pick up poop.

Farm to Table Tales

Farm to Table Tales

Good food takes time. I've heard this phrase many times before, but after nine months at the Ranch, I've truly come to understand what it means to me. The local Costa Ricans are called the Ticos. The Ticos live by the mantra "Pura Vida", which directly translates to pure life. This is indefinitely how they choose to live. "Tico time" is another phrase I've heard and come to understand here. Ticos work at their own pace, never feeling the need to hurry or stress at time. They are the happiest people I've ever met. The western way of life has much to learn from this, no more so than in the world of food. I have three stories to tell that I think shed perfect light on this matter.

Non-Traditional Education: Reconnecting to our Roots

Non-Traditional Education:  Reconnecting to our Roots

Modern, conventional education systems do not work for everyone. They cater well enough to many of today’s students but not to a significant portion of the population that might be better served by alternative pedagogical approaches. In most countries, at the age of 4 or 5, or even younger, kids are shuffled into busy classrooms to learn subjects that will reportedly prepare them for a successful future. As our economies become less predictable, politics less appealing, and the environment ever more damaged, current educational models are losing traction with increasing numbers of people who recognize that the one-size-fits all approach to education is not working for our society.  

Making Microbes: Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life

Making Microbes: Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life

Organic gardeners and farmers understand the need to cultivate and protect soil microorganism life. The strategies to do this involve mulching, composting, and avoiding soil disturbance as much as possible. We know that these strategies, in addition to many others, encourage a healthy soil-food-web.

Build Your Skills: 2017 Workshop Series

Build Your Skills: 2017 Workshop Series

Our 2017 workshops exemplify the type of world we hope to shape. They train students to look at their landscape, shelter, and food with a new perspective; one that honors ecology and craft, that promotes a sense of place in an often disconnect world. We hope you will join us for one of these powerful courses.

The Peace in Knowing Yeast: How to Brew Your Own Ginger Beer

The Peace in Knowing Yeast: How to Brew Your Own Ginger Beer

I knew there was something wrong when the fraternity brothers put codeine in the keg, when my friends got so sick that they went splat, when thirteen year old me took a sip of every wine bottle in the house when mom and dad weren't looking and I felt like I had done something naughty. European culture is renown for serving alcoholic beverages to children, yet in the USA where I grew up, something about alcohol is taboo. The cultural history reflects just that. Alcohol in Native American early history is absent, contraband could put you behind bars or blind you, prohibition made speakeasies a mischievous and alluring excursion, and even today a cultural lag in how we enjoy alcohol still exists.