Agroforestry

8 Tips for Starting your Tropical Homestead

8 Tips for Starting your Tropical Homestead

You’ve just purchased your dream property in tropical Costa Rica. You want to grow your own food. You are anxious to get to work now, have bought some plants from a nursery you randomly drove by, and have a shovel in hand, but...where to start?

Most of our clients fall on either side of a spectrum of project implementation. Either they experience paralysis by analysis, overthinking every step, their confidence slowly eroding, or they dive in head first without any planning. Either way they hire our team at Porvenir Design to bring them to the middle. How can we take our time and plan while simultaneously moving forward with the energy and confidence that is required to see a project to completion?

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.

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.

How to Design, Plant, Maintain, and Feast from your Food Forest

How to Design, Plant, Maintain, and Feast from your Food Forest

When you visit the Ranch you will not find rows of squash, tomatoes and carrots as you might associate with a temperate climate organic farm. You won't find deep layers of topsoil. You won't find tractors and their associated implements. What you will find is an agriculture that blends pleasantly into the forest. To the untrained eye it may even be challenging to tell where the forest begins and the farm ends. This is because our agriculture is based on the ecology of the place we live. And we live in a tropical monsoon forest. Our agricultural practices, often cited as agroforestry or food forests in the permaculture jargon, mimic the forest around us.

Extreme Food Processing: Flaming Nuts and Poison Ivy Spray

Extreme Food Processing:  Flaming Nuts and Poison Ivy Spray

I was harvesting fruits down by the classroom this week when Jenny walked by with a line of high school students, en route for the river trail. She paused for a moment as she passed.

“We're roasting cashews at five tomorrow. Why don't you gather some from the ground here and bring them?”