Planting Seeds for a Sustainable Future
This is the heart of our work, where our vision of healthy, thriving communities takes root as a reality. The Pueblo Roots Initiative is a 12 month intensive program that provides local people with the awareness, education, skills, and opportunities to create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle for their families and communities.
The program, based on sustainable, localized, organic food production and consumption, begins with a 4 month organic agriculture training intensive for farmers and home gardeners. Students meet weekly in groups of about 30 to learn about the health benefits of organic growing and are taught practical methods of food production, pest management, soil enhancement, and bringing products to market.
For those who successfully complete the course, Vida Autentica provides the materials and labor for each student to have a greenhouse that will allow them to grow nutritious edible and medicinal plants year round.
Our teachers live in the pueblos for 12 months, providing mentorship and ongoing support to students. This includes on-site visits to students farms and gardens and regular group workshops that go deeper into a variety of sustainable farming practices.
We also train people - with a special focus on youth - from within the community to become organic farming teachers, broadening the reach of this life-changing work.
By providing these skills to economically disadvantaged communities, we are fostering the development of leaders that are empowered to uplift their communities and improve the livelihoods of themselves and their neighbors.
An essential element in the transition to organic farming is the development of mutually beneficial relationships between buyers and sellers. Vida Autentica supports our new organic farmers by exploring and developing venues for their products to meet the increasing local demand for organic produce.
To support this connection we develop relationships with local restaurants and hotels and aim to improve or develop farmers markets throughout the country so that local producers have the space to provide healthy, organic products to their communities. This reinforces the value in economic terms of their commitment to live organically while providing an opportunity for the larger community to enjoy the benefits of shifting to organic, sustainable food production.
In February 2014 we created the Feria Organica Tinamastes to support the graduates from Las Tumbas, Tinamastes, La Alfombra and San Salvador. Today the market is open every Tuesday from 8am - 12pm and has over 45 vendors selling organic foods and local crafts, with the majority of fresh produce coming from graduates of the Pueblo Roots Initiative. It is now the second largest organic market in the country and there is still room for growth.
These kinds of initiatives are the essential first steps for the development of healthy, thriving and connected communities in Costa Rica and the world.
PUEBLO ROOTS INITIATIVE
SMALL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
Our model farm and learning center will provide a functioning example of sustainable agriculture that will encourage a radical shift in thinking and inspire our community and visitors from around the world to change the way they produce food and care for their health.
The Learning Center will be a space for teacher training, organic growing and small business development classes. Our fields and gardens will provide a place to observe and conduct experiments with new methods of organic food and seed production as well as a variety of composting systems. Our kitchens will host health education classes and we will provide onsite housing for private, educational and civic groups interested in participating in intensive studies on the model farm.
Our intention is to support a worldwide network of thoughtful, earth honoring visionaries who can connect to our students and their communities by providing them a space to teach and share their ideas.
VIDA LEARNING CENTER
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE COURSES IN ENGLISH
Vida Autentica was born out of requests from local Costa Ricans in the Diamante Valley to learn more about healthy farming, eating and living. Our courses are designed and taught by Costa Ricans in Spanish.
The impact on local communities has had such a positive influence on students and their neighbors, that the non-Costa Rican residents have requested the courses. To satisfy this demand we have begun delivering the 4 month intensive organic agriculture training in English.
Since we began offering the courses in English, we have witnessed the growth of empowered friendships, community cooperation, and elevated health - as well as lots more organic greenhouses and farms!!