At Rancho Mastatal we have been building sustainable homes from natural materials in the tropics for over 15 years. In this time we have tried many different styles, building materials, and designs. We would like to share with you our opinion for the best natural and sustainable home design for the tropics.
Scott Gallant and Laura Killingbeck joined the Ranch team as interns in January of 2010. The following year they joined the Ranch team as co-directors. From then until the present they have been instrumental in developing numerous critical systems and practices that have greatly contributed to the Ranch’s success. Their work in the areas of agroforestry, education, finance, human resources, marketing and food systems helped to revolutionize the Ranch in countless ways.
As apprentices at Rancho Mastatal, we take on a Plant Skill, where we each are responsible for a plant variety in our agroforestry system. When we began as apprentices many of us wanted to avoid the Salak palm, as it has splinter inducing spikes throughout the stem and leaves. Following my intention to dive into challenges this year, I decided to take being caretaker of the prickliest palm on the Ranch.
Living in the tropics I found myself surrounded by cocoa trees, which was something you’d dream about as a kid. “Chocolate trees” But like so many things we’re used to consuming we don’t have the knowledge of how to process a raw material into something we can use, within the society we live convenience has removed us from the source. A simple act of making something gives us a connection to our environment.
My name is Ryan and I'm part of the apprentice team at Rancho Mastatal for 2019. I've been navigating my lactose-intolerance since I was a child and gluten-intolerance since I identified it approximately five years ago. In this and the following installments of Dairy Diaries. I'll be exploring dairy kefir, in my personal effort to find ways to make dairy products I enjoy healthier, more digestible and more delicious.
Many of us grow up thinking of home as our safest place. As consumers, we have been led to believe that by the time products make it to the market, they have been thoroughly tested and proven safe. We pick up packaging and read labels before buying, just to know what is in the products. But, what does a label really tell us? What are these manufactured products made with? Where and how was it cultivated, processed, packages and shipped?