Food, Familiar Stranger

Food, Familiar Stranger

When I was a teenager thumbing rides around Mexico, I quickly realized my vegetarianism would not survive. If my friend Valente and I got in some dusty car with a family that brought us back to a tin-roofed house and gave us chicken soup, we ate that soup. The kindness of strangers humbled my big picture ideas of right and wrong.

The Art of Stacking Functions

The Art of Stacking Functions

Stacking functions. What does this phrase mean to you? It could mean any number of things depending on what you apply it to. In this case I'm referring to the term as it's used in permaculture. It is one of the primary principles of permaculture design. Here at the Ranch we employ as many of these principles as we can in our work and in our daily lives. 

Poop: The Secret to Sustainable Solutions

Poop:  The Secret to Sustainable Solutions

Poop. Shit. Mierda. Caca. Crap. Boñiga. Excrement. Feces. Dung. There are countless ways to say what comes out of an animal’s body as solid waste. As most visitors to the Ranch realize soon after their arrival to Mastatal, we talk about poop more than the average learning center or household, and it’s not uncommon for it to be the center of a meal conversation.

Going Home: The Long Road Leaving Mastatal

Going Home: The Long Road Leaving Mastatal

The journey starts with a 5am wake up; just as the sunlight is starting to spread through the jungle. I take a couple deep breaths as I admire the beautiful place that I am in.I take a last look around, heave my heavy backpack on, and head down to make a cup of coffee before embarking on what will be a 36+ hour adventure back "home." I have done this journey multiple times now, from California to Costa Rica and back and forth, and each time presents new challenges and exhausting travel times.

Cultured Butter & the Culture of Butter

Cultured Butter & the Culture of Butter

When my dad was in third grade, his class followed the cirriculum laid out in a workbook. In times of boredom and monoteny, he would flip ahead and learn new material the class was soon to arrive at. One day he came across a particularly interesting bit: a tongue twister. My dad spent the next six weeks practicing the tongue twister in secrecy of his classmates until, finally, the class caught up to that point in the workbook. The teacher gave each student the opportunity to recite the tongue twister from the book, and each student who attempted this tongue twister stumbled through a slew of "Betty botta buddhas," until it was my dad's opportunity.

Lard, the new Super Food?

Lard, the new Super Food?

Everything we eat at the Ranch is homemade or made from scratch as we'd say on the east coast of the United States. It takes a lot of time, and is made with a lot of love, which makes it taste even better. Since I am someone who cares a lot about what is going into my body, I became very interested in how our food is grown, where it is coming from, and how it is being cooked.