Permacultural education center in La Gamba

The Refugio Tinti is located near La Gamba de Golfito, a rural community of about 700 people. Unemployment, poverty, lack of education, and environmental degradation are just some of the interlinked challenges the community is facing. Attempts at improving living standards in the past were, if at all, met with just temporary success. We believe that environmental protection and community development must go hand in hand.

Therefore, we envision the establishment of a permacultural education and consultation center in La Gamba. The long-term goal is to plant a seed for the development of a fully sustainable ecovillage: through education, we aim to encourage the community to regeneratively cultivate their land, which improves food security, health outcomes, and quality of life in general. Through workshops and vocational training we want to facilitate acquiring relevant skills within and for the community to keep their earnings among themselves.

The cornerstone of the proposed project is the transformation of the rather dreary local school grounds, around one hectare in size, into a sustainable and self-sufficient natural system. This gives children the chance to learn about the power of nature’s toolbox in increasing food security and living quality first-hand. Below is an aerial photograph of the school’s current state and underneath, an illustration of the permacultural system which could be developed on school grounds (credits to Allan Campbell).

Simultaneously, the permacultural education and consultation center will hold regular workshops for the entire village on subjects like sustainable food-cultivation techniques, methods to achieve self-sufficiency through value-added products, ways to strengthen community cohesion, and paths to new sustainable income sources. The establishment of a microcredit system can enable villagers to implement entrepreneurial ventures based on the skills learnt in workshops.

In a session of interviews with so far over 10% of all village inhabitants, we found overwhelming support for this project. Furthermore, the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment and Energy, the mayor of La Gamba, the National Parks Foundation, and the principal of the school have already provided letters of support for the project.

Immediate and long-term goals

Over the four years of implementing the project, we aim to:

Complete the transformation of the school grounds

Enable continuous learning of schoolchildren in hands-on lessons to foster sustainable thinking

Offer regular workshops for the village population

Consult and assist village inhabitants to apply the techniques taught to restore and use their land

Encourage local production and consumption through the establishment of a village market, vocational training and a central connecting phoneline

In the long term, this project has the potential to kick off the gradual restoration of hundreds of hectares of land, currently degraded by unsustainable conventional agriculture (e.g., palm oil monocultures or cattle farms) and wasteland. The eco-market will naturally sharpen the appreciation and awareness for truly sustainable agriculture.

Help us make the next steps!

We ware thankful for your support! If you are interested in supporting this project as an investor, please get in touch with us via info@refugiotinti.com or +506 8816 1107 (Alexander Tinti). We are happy to provide an extended project description as well as a detailed financial plan.