Location: San Agustin, Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica
Start Date: February 2009
Finca Fruicion is a cooperative land project that focuses on cultivating a culture of well-being that includes oneself, their community, and the environment. Finca Fruicon is located in San Agustin, a pueblo on the top of a ridge line overlooking the entire valley of Perez Zeledon, with Mount Chirripo, Costa Rica's tallest mountain, as the center piece. The views on the farm are breath-taking, and give the feeling of being on top of the world. Set amidst deforestation, Finca Fruicion strives to provide solutions for traditional cattle ranching and sun grown coffee, encouraging reforestation with productive yields for humans and animals alike. Finca Fruicion also aims to learn from the locals and create respectful, meaningful relationships that inspire the pueblo towards becoming an eco-village.
Finca Fruicion began in 2008, with a school bus/rv running on waste vegetable oil, two children under 3, a new relationship, and a leap into the mystery. Jason, Alana, JangaRa, and Baraka left the dropping temperatures of Minnesota, USA with one thing on their mind, warmer weather, where they could live more sustainably off the land. After driving through the US, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Hundorus, and Nicaragua, they reached Costa Rica and knew this was the country they would soon call home. Welcomed by the locals, the family was awed by the natural beauty, the preservation of the ecology (in relation to the other countries they had driven through). After another 3 months, they found the land atop a mountain that soon became Finca Fruicion. Joined by permaculturalist Desiree Wells, the finca blossomed into a wonderful hosting ground for volunteers, members, and groups strivng to learn more about the Culture of Well-being, and Sustainability.
Our mission of Finca Fruicion is to embody harmony within, with our fellow human beings, and with our environment, by establishing a Culture of Wellness that focuses on integral food production, interactions, community interaction, education, and lifestyles.
The vision of Finca Fruicion is to become a living model for a way of life that can transform how humans interact with each other and the ecology. We create this through a well thought out permaculture site design focusing on sustainable, organic agriculture, alternative healthcare, holistic education and childcare, autonomous cooperative land ownership, compassionate communication, and integral micro-businesses. We will be hosting Permaculture Design Certification courses, Conscious Kid's Camps, Wellness Retreats, and other groups which focus on learning and integrating the Culture of Well-being. The land itself will comprise of residential houses, communal gardens, nurseries, a greenhouse, aquaculture ponds, food forests, springs, animal systems, reforestation, volunteer village, workshop/art space, kid's playscape, and the group hosting facilities.
Culture of Well-Being:
We all know the phrase, be the change you wish to see in the world and we can be that individually, however to do it collectively we need some structure. This is were we feel culture comes in, it is the structure of our human societies, the flavor of our expression and the bonds that unite us. By focusing on a Culture of Well-being, we design health and wellness into our way of life, and our interactions with the ecosystems around us. This culture holds organic, whole foods, alternative medicines, natural building, conscious music, movement, art, and sustainability as the cornerstones of its morality. It is declaring we must be well within ourselves, our communities, and our environment, in order to shift the old paradigm of humanity into one of harmony.
Cooperative Land Ownership:
Finca Fruicion is cooperatively owned via member shares. There are 3 kinds of membership shares; Casa or House shares, Cabina or Cabin shares, and non-residential shares.
- Casa (House) shares are for those who are interested in living on site, cultivating the land around them and participating in community zones.
- Cabina (Cabin) shares are for those who are interested in living part time on the farm and renting out their cabins to visitors.
- Non-residential shares are for people who would like to support the project, but do not want to live on the land, they can visit for a specific amount of time per year.
All the members in Finca Fruicion are able to vote in meetings and are active in the direction of the project development.
Organic Food Production:
Sustainable food production is a cornerstone to the Culture of Well-being, and therefore, much of the project is dedicated to growing organic food. The community garden is a place for annual crops, while the perennial and staple crop intensive gardens are dedicated to larger scale organic food production. Integrated animal husbandry also provides organic foods, such as milk and eggs, it also provides fertilizer, friendships, and land maintenance. As of now, there are goats, chickens, rabbits, tilapia, a horse, cows, dogs, and a cat. In the future we will also be incorporating pigs and iguanas into our system.
Finca Fruicion has 3 springs, 2 of which are potable drinking water and 1 that feeds the ponds and irrigates the gardens. There are also 2 streams running on both sides of the land, with two waterfalls and small swimming holes.
The soil at Finca Fruicion varries depending on the micro-climates and history each part of the land. The majority is red clay with some sand in it, which has been wonderful for holding nutrients in the gardens, water in the ponds, and for cobbing.
All buildings that on the land and all those to be built will be designed based on ecological techniques and storing energy. Finca Fruicion does use the Costa Rican electrical grid, at the moment, however, the site design incorporates wind, solar, and hydro electricity. The majority of the toilets on the finca are dry composting toilets that are used to feed bananas, however, bio-digestors are also in the site design and encouraged for house site. Stilt built structures are used and encouraged throughout the finca, as they work well for passive cooling and the slope of the land. Traditional techniques are used to generate a sense of relationship with the local and indigenous communities of Costa Rica.
The children of Finca Bellavista have the choice to go to the school in the village or to be homeschooled, however, even those who go to school also receive a suplimental education through the parents of the finca. Likewise, the Collective will work with the local school, by implementing gardens, playscapes, and afterschool programs. The vision is to have a Homeschool Collective which will share the facilitation of the classes, bring about more socialization for the children, and offer a rotation for work and play for child and adult alike. The Homeschool Collective will have its own building with workshop/art space for the children to explore their talents.
Finca Fruicion is surrounded by a variety of landscapes. There is the pastures where the cows live, coffee/banana plantations, the village, and the forest. The forests provide a protective barrier for the streams and support a plethora of wildlife. A wide variety of birds make this mountain their home, as well as many reptiles and mamels. We have seen two toed and three toed sloths, a jaguarundi (miniature jaguar), armadillos, skunk, deer, a giant weasel, iguanas, boas, and more. We also have 2 reforestation zones that are being planted with native fruit and nut producing trees to provide more forage for wildlife.
Finca Fruicion is a part of San Agustin, and are involved in fiestas, town meetings, and other events planned by the village. Finca Fruicion in partnership with Carbon Trees Costa Rica organized a native variety tree planting in the school yard and gifted many trees to local farm owners. We also encourage scholarship programs for our hosted groups (especially PDCs) for the locals to attend. We also realize the the locals have vast knowledge on plants, ecology, planting and building techniques, and more that we are interested in learning from them. We feel that we must enter into the relationships of the locals with humble respect, and honor their wisdom, only can we share ours. Finca Fruicon also aims to serve San Agustin through volunteer community service and employment at the finca.
Phases of Development:
- Begin Infrastructure (complete)
- Build deck for hosting on the hosting house.
- Make fertile soil and Zone 1 swale gardens.
- Begin a plant nursery.
- Fence pastures and build animal infrastructure.
- Construct volunteer kitchen and housing.
- Fix the internal road
- Initiate playscape.
- Clean out spring head and redo water for hosting house.
- Build Composting toilets and solar shower.
- First member house built.
- Solar driers for volunteer housing and hosting house.
- Prepare for hosting
- Build tent platforms for visitors/volunteers
- Build Casitas (little houses) for visitors/volunteers
- Build rammed earth rooms for visitors/volunteers
- Begin organic intensive gardens
- Pig systems
- Establish a "mastermind" - core team of co-creators.
- Host our first PDC
- Stock Aquaculture Ponds - Aquapoinics
- Transform Orchard into Food Forest
- Animals Gardens for their food.
- Begin building in Coop member Village
- Landscaping for house sites
- Plant shade coffee, cacao, ice cream bean guilds
- Instal low ropes course
- Maturation of Finca Frucion
- Build Bathhouse for the Cabinas
- Plant year old native saplings in reforestation project to support wildlife
- Build Education Center for the homeschool collective
- Cooperative Members – We have openings for people interested in living sustainably, co-creating in harmony, cultivating a Culture of Well-being and raising children communally.
- Volunteers – Finca Fruicion's volunteer program strengthens inherent talents, inspires new ones, offers opportunities for community service, and challenges us to grow.
- Non-residential Coop Members – Those who are interested in participating via their support and sharing in the beauty of this project on their vacations.