A few months back a series of clients began asking me questions that I didn’t have the answers to. I knew just enough about the topics to know what I didn’t know. One client wanted to know about building restrictions around a small body of water, another needed information about opening up land for a road through an existing forest, and a third was seeking support to enroll in the FONAFIFO Environmental Service Payment program.
The rainforests of Central America might not be the first place that you think of when you hear the term “timber frame construction”, but with initiatives in Monteverde and Mastatal, Costa Rica is starting to make a name for itself in the region for this post and beam building technique. We started to build the infrastructure of Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center in the small rural community of Mastatal, Costa Rica in 2001.
Over the years of natural building at Rancho Mastatal my feelings on the process have gone through many stages. From the initial excitement of- wow, how cool you can build a house from the materials on your land, and all it takes is time, practice, and anyone can do this! To over time, after building many walls, an understanding of how long it takes to build a natural home and all the work that it entails.
Developing the physical infrastructure of our campus gets me up every morning. I don't need coffee nor an alarm clock; I'm just excited to keep building. Building the orchards and earthworks, furniture for my home, a better feeder for our chickens; these are the projects that rev my permaculture engine. They are concrete, you can see the results of your physical labor immediately, and they are often the first projects of burgeoning permaculture sites. It requires little effort to dedicate the time, space, resources and money to these projects. Yet their impact on the success of a project, despite all this dedication, pales in comparison to another type of infrastructure; the invisible infrastructure.
Workshops, one of many forms of education, are expensive to organize, risky to run, and an immense amount of work to pull off and host well. They can also be transformational and inspirational for the participants and provide them with an amazing educational experience. We have been offering life-changing courses and classes in a vast array of areas related to sustainability for over 15 years