“It was me and a backpack, recreating myself and no going back”
Leia visits Abundant Eden to hear from a long time farmer and permaculturist, Desiree Wells. This is a great episode with considerations for anyone who is starry eyed, dreaming of moving to the tropics and living off the land.
Desiree begins by talking about how she first came to Costa Rica around the time of the Y2K panic. We hear about Desiree’s unicorn aka glorified great dane aka beautiful white horse, Athena, who she rescued from a flood during a storm that blew out over 50 bridges. She talks about the trials and tribulations of finding where you fit in. The paradox of working the land full time – no project ever really gets done.
Desiree shares about the value of growing with perennials (and how one can more easily traverse borders with sticks instead of seeds). She talks about bioregional mapping and some of the mother farms (and farmers) she has worked with.. Randy, founder of Sendero Natural, joins the conversation. We discuss some of the changes he has seen in Costa Rica in the last few decades, and how society has impacted people to value degrees and educations that don’t actually give us the skills to provide for ourselves.
The three of us talk about being good neighbors and the complexity of being white people coming to Costa Rica amidst a trend toward gentrification. The shadow side of “intentional community” and “conscious” community. The colonialism of permaculture. The secret to starting a successful community (or at least, avoiding disaster): develop an exit strategy. Desiree imparts more important lessons: get your own backyard straight before you’re trying to get your hands in someone else’s backyard or teach them how to farm/do permaculture. Linking with our neighbors, doing it for each other, with each other.
Desiree will be part of a PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE in Southern Costa Rica April 11-May 7. This will be a pre-planting season “BootCamp” initiation. The course will be run in alignment with the new moon, centering on the four elements over the course of four weeks. The course includes 6 fieldtrips, other special guest speakers to be announced, a seed exchange to follow in May, and all who complete it will receive a permaculture design certificate.
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