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Mike Paladino 

Mike comes to Rancho Mastatal beaming with enthusiasm for the opportunity to broaden and deepen his knowledge and skills with the hope that he can help usher in a more just and regenerative planet. 

After completing his degree in Anthropology from Georgia State University in Atlanta, he spent two years working as an English instructor in Costa Rica and Chile. Upon the completion of his contract and the abundant growth of many a wild hair, he decided to spend six months wearing all of his belongings on his back and wove his way from Chile to Colombia, speckling the trip with volunteer experiences on various sustainability-related projects — from designing mandala gardens to reforesting native trees to building earthbag homes — in every country he visited. It was during this transformative voyage that he first came into contact with permaculture as an embodied way of living. 

Following his return to the states, he worked two seasons as a farm hand on one of the oldest organic vegetable farms in Colorado. Beyond developing a profound appreciation for the growers across the globe who nurture the land whilst nourishing their local communities, he was reassured daily of the urgent need to transform our industrial food system as well as the deep fulfillment brought about by working in accord with nature. The abundance of exquisite produce also encouraged him to be more experimental in the kitchen — an impulse he looks forward to being surrounded by during his time in Mastatal. 

With a long-term goal of owning property in the tropics, Mike plans to get his hands dirty in as many of the Ranch’s projects in motion as possible. He sees much promise in the ethics of permaculture and greatly looks forward to hopping on board and learning alongside the team in Mastatal. If he isn’t whistling while he’s working, one may see him roving under the canopy with an unwavering smile, devouring books across subjects far and wide, trying to get one of his two left feet to act right, or doing something he hasn’t quite thought of yet.