In 2008 we bought an abandoned cattle pasture, located in the middle of the jungle in the Caribbean coast of Cost Rica. We took down all the barbed wire and got busy bringing the fertility back to this heavily dreaded land. We knew one thing. In order to attain a real sustainable lifestyle, we needed to help Earth regenerate. We had one goal. How to create a productive ecosystem, that builds soil while making food and integrate ourselves into it.
We wanted to co-create our support system to provide for all of our needs. It needed to produce our building materials so we could have a modern comfortable home. We needed cheap, functional solutions to supply all of our energy and water.
We began by analyzing our diet and decided to try to produce everything we bought from the store. How do we produce all of our calories, fats, carbs, minerals, vitamins and proteins? We experimented with all the different edible plants that grow well in this soil. We identified the plants that produced lots of nutrition with little effort. Then learned to master preparing them. From flours made from roots, to coconut and avocado oils to “supplements” like leafy green powder blends. We even make our own chocolate, coffee, sugar, and process our own Caribbean sea salt! We went all out selecting the best varieties, learning all the processes and acquiring all the tools to make this a realistic cost-effective lifestyle.
With our needs met in a few short years and plenty of leisure time to just enjoy life, we realized if we were to have any impact on the world we needed to teach others, lots of them, and fast!
We got to work multiplying the system to provide for other people and developed a training center next to our homestead. We called it Finca Tierra Permaculture or Earth Farm. With the goal of teaching others how to become native to Earth and realize that with ecological design land can produce everything you need.
For the past 8 years, we have been holding on-site practical training.
These training offer students from all over the world to live with us for a few weeks while we look in depth on how to build and manage a homestead and small forest farm.
Every morning is devoted to the practical how-to’s with small class size so we make sure you leave with the skills to do this for yourselves. We prepare vegetable beds, make compost, and manage soil pH and fertility. We plant staple crops like nuts, roots and perennial grains and fatty fruits like avocados. We plant a new area of food forest start to finish. We look at building materials, home design, waste management, electricity, and water. All 100% off grid and very cost efficient.
In the afternoons we have lectures where we gain an understanding of how we can apply permaculture on a large scale and how it fits into the planetary boundaries. How to make profitable systems. We compare and contrast best practices in different climates and scales and go into detail on the technical aspects of the systems of this site.
We also look at how to design a diet! Now that we know how to grow it, how much space we need and what species to plant; we put our effort into turning these nutritional and medicinal foods into delicious tasting plates!
The course finishes with each student designing a 1-acre sustainable homestead based on what you’ve learned. So you will know the benefits and limitations of permaculture. How to apply it in relation to your personal context. How to grow your food with vegetable gardens and agroforestry systems at the scale of your or your family's diet. You will leave Finca Tierra with the security and competence in designing systems like this for yourself or others. With some experience under your belt, you will be able to teach others!
The real goal here is to train people. Get them into the world to be successful and inspire others to do the same. We believe that healing ourselves while harmonizing with the planet is the most important need of modern humanity and that's why we are so passionate to share regenerative solutions!
Ian & Ana