The Green Wave house was created for a few reasons. It was meant to provide the live and work space for the Green Wave founders, but also to act as a living example for a sustainable future. The Green Wave house is a show property for the community. It was created to inspire design, philosophies, and community eco-action.
Although there have been challenges, we are pleased with our efforts in 2017. First the challenges; bitter before the sweet ;)
The Green Wave house has not officially opened to the public in the sense that we have had advertised community events. We hope to have our first event in the Spring of 2018. We had building set backs in 2016 running through this year with construction issues ranging from changing construction teams, roof leaks, and most recently massive glass cracking in the glass walls.... The jungle is tough. We have blazing hot sun in the summers and roof-tolling torrential rains in the green season at night.
We are starting to understand after two years of living in Costa Rica, that electronics do not like humidity. 2016 our lesson was that the internet here is not quite like living in a city. In 2017 we have continued to deal with internet issues on top of failing computers and phones. Hours away from the main city (which does not have an official Apple store anyway), we must come to terms with the harsh realities of living in paradise.
Car conversions have been challenging but also recently successful. Our first car was a diesel, Land Rover from the 60's. We still have it. Part of the justification was that we would run it on biodiesel. Ken was in charge of creating a biodiesel co-op. He worked for months talking to people and with suppliers. In the end, the logistics did not make sense. The money and gas it would take to go get the small amount of gas... sometimes you just have to move on. Our second car is a Toyota Prado. Again we bought diesel but this time with the intention of converting it to run on waste vegetable oil. This was accomplished recently (so a success). The process did take awhile. We had to import the parts from the states (from Fatty Wagons), and then find a mechanic we trusted to figure out the directions which were in English. So far the Prado (after weeks of conversion) is running great. Smells like french fries but we prefer it to the smell of diesel ;) The Land Rover we will sell and the current idea is to replace it with an electric quad. In theory the quad would be run on solar power... if the government ever lets us turn on our solar system.
The Green Wave house is small and equipped with energy efficient appliances. We have ample natural light in the house. Our solar carport will then one day power the entire property including all of our electric (vs. gas powered) tools. That is if we are ever allowed to turn it on. It has been our experience with this government (and they are not the only ones in this world) that they are allowing a monopolistic energy provider to run a program that does not really work. The power company does not really want people to have solar here. Although we could have gone "off-grid", we chose to be part of the system. We are to be a show home. It would only be right that we support our government. It has been over a year since the system has been built and technically operational. We have had to buy meters, meters, and more measuring meters. Expenses I can only imagine might make other people broke in the process. At minimum, it's incredibly disheartening. We are close now. But we shall see. Cross your fingers that we become an example of renewable energy in 2018.
Although most of the property has been equipped with a drip system, we still desire water storage tanks. This will be an improvement to the property we hope to start making before green season in 2018. Last year we had a water conservation expert come out to survey the property. We have ideas - now it's time to implement them.
Successes on the Farm
Janine has been teaching yoga for the Yoga Permaculture Program at the larger farm (of Rancho Delicioso of which the Green Wave House is part of). She has also taught some of these retreat groups a "trash to treasure" workshop out of her passion for Trashion, trash art, and ecobricking. Besides the main farm property, the Green Wave house is the first property built in the future eco-village of Rancho Delicioso. Ken and Janine, are then, eco-village pioneers.
With the assistance of Adriana Pal of Escuela de la Jungla (a nonprofit jungle permaculture school), who is our permaculture expert consultant, we have transformed the land within a very short amount of time. We have a food forest growing. In 2016 we had hearty output from a newly planted cashew tree, and also from our established guava tree. Although most of the trees, aside from bananas and plantanos, are not yet fruiting we have had small crops from the achiote tree, a black pepper plant, and lots of Starfruit. Limes are in process of growing and blooms have been discovered on two of the mango trees. We also had a nearly world record breaking Guanabana. However it is not just the trees that make up the food forest, it is what is able to grow around the trees... we are now, in phase two of the food forest and from that we have a regular supply of chaya (which is a tree-type spinach), and medicinal plants such as bitterdrops , juanilama, hoja sen.
Beyond the food forest, we had a productive crop of corn. We are now able to make polenta for months :) We have had great success with our "Yin/Yang" garden which hosts most of our leafy greens. We continue to have supplies of kale, collard greens, but we had tomatoes, squash, arugula, peppers, and lettuce that all did well in the last growing season. Our friend and co-pioneer Geoff McCabe (the visionary behind Rancho Delicioso) remarked on how our garden was probably the best looking garden he had seen during the green season. Quite a compliment. The Green Wave house also has a medicinal garden and a more exotic culinnary or herb garden off to the side of the vegetable garden. Currently we have supplies of tumeric and we harvested arrowroot that we turned into a flour and went into a batch of holiday cookies. We are currently spending hours daily in the field harvesting, and then processing, Rosa de Jamaica for our yearly supply.
We have had a beautiful experience sharing crops, herbs, and medicines with our local community including the farm, a local brewery, a couple of restaurants, and of course with our workers.
Success with our partner orgs.
The first Green Wave event in 2008 was an Earthdance event held in the Encino Hills of Los Angeles. It was a fundraiser to raise funds for the expenses we were incurring to file the paperwork to become a 501(c)3 non-profit. However, we raised money for other organizations as well including Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary in Costa Rica (now under new ownership and going full circle to our current involvement with Wild Sun Wildlife Rescue Center), and a Scarlett McCaw project in Pavones (also an interesting twist 9 years later to be involved with scarlett mccaws but we will get back to that).
For years Green Wave worked with Rainsong. Along the way the environmental school, Futuro Verde, approached us for fiscal sponsorship. Since 2010 (ish) we have been the fiscal sponsor for this amazing school which has seen incredible growth over the several years. Most effort however, since about 2010-2011 had been put into the EMA project.
When we moved to Costa Rica in 2016, we were approached for fiscal sponsorship again by two separate organizations. Wild Sun Rescue (the old Rainshong but new and improved management and facilities) and the Karen Mogensen Reserve in Jicaral, a beautiful biological reserve which houses old growth forest, and is an integral water supply to six surrounding communities. This reserve is under management by an organization called ASEPALECO. They call the reserve "the lungs of the Nicoya Peninsula".
We have been honored to take on the fiscal sponsorship for these projects and we are working to create synergy between our projects which will include our permaculture specialist Adriana Pal. Although we do not sponsor her yet, we see her Costa Rican nonprofit Permaculture School and new rural tourism venture as important strategic partners.
We have been supporters of all fundraisers at Wild Sun that we have been in town for from the end of 2016 through 2017, including acting as fundraiser event staff and producing team.
In the last couple of months Ken has been volunteering once a week at Wild Sun for either physical labor demands at the property or to feed the animals. Within the last month, Janine is also visiting on this day to assist with feeding and also with administrative needs including strategy sessions with the founder, Jeremy Levine. We are excited to find out that next week (to kick off 2018), Wild Sun will be featured on Animal Planet!
Wild Sun has adopted the Earth Charter, hosted a Green Wave Eco-brick workshop, and has just started an eco-brick item collection area.
Wild Sun is also approved to take over a very important conservation and species reintroduction program for the iconic scarlett macaw. These birds became extinct due to the area (after World War II) undergoing massive logging in the area which wiped out scarlett macaw habitat. We are excited to help look for funding for this incredible project.
Futuro Verde (Environmental School)
We participated in the major Earth Day fundraiser that Futuro Verde threw this past year. Ken was one of the "tree-sitters" who could not come out of the tree until he reached a minimum donation level. Additionally, under the consultation recommendation by Janine, Futuro Verde had their first annual Trashion Fashion show and brought in local clothing designers (Yasmin McCabe from Rancho Delicioso and Fernanda the co-owner of TUA) to assist the kids in their design strategy. The Futuro Verde Trashion Fashion show was an incredible success and launched during an environmental expo at the school.
Karen Mogensen Reserve
We were able to assist the reserve in securing some donations this past year. Months before our involvement, Robert Plant sent a sizable donation to assist the reserve in 2016 and we look forward to bringing more people to the reserve either ourselves or through Adriana Pal's new Permaculture Journeys. It is when you see magical places on Earth that you realize we must protect them.
Desires for 2018
We will be working toward more media and influencer alliances in 2018. We will continue to consult all projects on green business practices (including the creation of environmental policies), improving communication among partners and implementing more efficient donations policies, and will be working to bring exposure to our projects through global service learning, educational retreats, and voluntourism. We also look forward to community events at the house and opening up the Green Wave house to tours from retreats, local schools, and anyone interested in permaculture and regenerative farming.
Happening in January of 2018
Animal Planet - Wild Sun
Working with Groundswell Retreats to create voluntour activities
Working with EMA on community ambassador program
Launching alliance with The Bloom Network
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