About.

"Rancho Mastatal is an education center and community rooted in environmental sustainability, meaningful, place-based livelihoods and healthy caring relationships.

We provide powerful educational opportunities through our inspirational, experiential programs and onsite network of integrated, working systems. 

Our practices are appropriate to our rural, tropical, environment; are replicable; and embody competencies and philosophical tenants which are also applicable in other regions of the world. Our programs reach a cross-generational, cross-cultural audience and are accessible to a range of demographics.

Our dynamic community encompasses the people of our region, the Ranch team, and many of the people that participate in our varied programs. Our core team is able to provide for itself through agricultural, food-based, building, and educational activities, which simultaneously create and strengthen a viable web of local economies and healthy, sustainable, products and services. Our own financial livelihoods both contribute to and are dependent upon these local economies.

The Ranch provides its local staff with secure, well-paying jobs, educational opportunities, and a caring workplace. A well-organized financial structure allows us to make fiscal decisions that support our members and community while preparing for an increasingly challenging global environment.

Rancho Mastatal takes into consideration environmental concerns from a personal to a global perspective and develops models, techniques, and solutions that are regenerative, regionally appropriate, and maintainable. We are committed to sourcing our food and building materials locally while maximizing the utility of our diversified farm. We promote community resiliency by supporting regional efforts to assure clean water, healthy food, fertile agricultural land, and safe, naturally constructed buildings.

Stays.

$50/night

The Hooch

Maximum capacity: 4 people
Food included
This is one of Rancho Mastatal’s most interesting and in demand structures and is built almost entirely out of bamboo. It provides guests with an intimate experience with the nature that abounds around it.  This magnificent private building sits high amongst the trees with dramatic vistas out towards the forest.

The Hooch is outfitted with one double bed and two single beds on two floors and sleeps up to four people. It features a beautiful bamboo floor. Guests staying in the Hooch share two beautiful showers and an awesome composting toilet with with our apprentices in a nearby, separate structure. This option is appropriate for those guests looking for a unique experience and is not appropriate for people uncomfortable going up and down ladders or families with children under 6 years old.  Due to the nature of bamboo's flexibility, the Hooch does move a bit as you do.  The Hooch has perfect access to many of our trails, swimming holes, forests and waterfalls.

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$1500/person

Permaculture Design Certification Course

Apr 25 - May 08, 2017
Food included
Join our diverse team of permaculture instructors Scott Gallant, Mitch Haddad, Santiago Miranda, Rachel Jackson, Sam Kenworthy, and Laura Killingbeck for this annual life-changing 2-week experience. The course covers the core Permaculture Design curriculum and emphasizes creating diverse multi-functional human landscapes based on ecological patterns. Utilizing Rancho Mastatal as a living classroom, the class will mix lectures and hands-on work, exploring design solutions for both temperate and tropical regions. Putting Permaculture into practice, the course concludes with students working in teams to create their own permaculture site design. This course is applicable to anyone with an interest in designing resilient and regenerative futures as well as professionals in the fields of architecture, planning, ecology, education, farming and community development. The whole-systems design thinking outlined in the course will give participants the tools to re-design and improve their surroundings; from gardens, farms and homes, to livelihoods, relationships and communities.

For complete information on the course, including instructor bios, schedule, accommodations, etc, please see our website here:

http://ranchomastatal.com/permaculture-design-certification-workshop

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$400/person

The Art and Practice of Live Culture Fermentation

May 12 - May 15, 2017
Food included
Learn how to ferment foods wherever you live!

Chefs, doctors, and scientists around the world are now saying what our grandmothers have always known: fermented foods are a delicious way to stay healthy, restore the immune system, and improve digestion.

Fermentation is an ancient technique for cultivating natural strains of probiotic microbes, while simultaneously transforming food into some of the world’s favorite delicacies.

In this intensive four-day course, learn the basic theory of the fermentation process and practice making a variety of fermented foods, including pickled vegetables, kimchi, herbal sodas and beers, ginger beer, vinegar, dairy kefir, dosas, and local starch sourdough. Immerse yourself in the Ranch’s beautiful facilities, take a tour of our farm and unique natural buildings, and visit a local chocolate factory to learn how cacao is fermented, roasted, and made into bonbons. Take home time-tested recipes and starter cultures, and begin to revitalize the art, practice, and delicious flavors of live-culture fermentation in your own home!

For more information on this course including instructor bios, accommodations, and curriculum please see our website here:

http://ranchomastatal.com/fermentation-workshop/

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Free / Work-Trade

Arborist Work-Trade

Available: Dec 01 - Dec 31, 2017Minimum stay: 14 nightsMaximum capacity: 2 people
Food included
Are you a professional arborist looking for some winter Costa Rican sunshine? Have you ever dreamed of working up in a jungle canopy? Are you hard working and a self starter with experience of removing tricky trees in and around multiple buildings and orchard spaces?

The Ranch team has many skills unfortunately we are not able to do many of the tree work that is currently needed around the ranch especially near the main house and our front gardens.
We are looking for an experienced person and probably ideally 2 people who can work together taking down trees to join our team for 4 weeks (or more!!!!!) this winter to help us remove some potentially dangerous trees in and around our structures.

Additional tasks may include:

Equipment sourcing and organising prior to arrival.
Training and working with Rancho Mastatal core team members.
Milling and sawing logs with an Alaskan chainsaw mill
Qualifications:

Relevant professional arborist experience.
Interest in the culture and mission of Rancho Mastatal.
Ability to abide by all Rancho Mastatal policies.
Ability to commit to agreed upon time frame.
Optional but helpful qualifications:

Spanish language abilities.
In return we can offer:

Three hearty and delicious meals a day sourced locally and cooked lovingly by our team.
Home brewed fruit and herbal beer.
Housing in one of our unique naturally built structures.
Access to all the Ranch’s amenities, including the wildlife reserve, hiking trails, waterfalls and rivers, our extensive library, and working farm.
An opportunity to live and work with our team of sustainability professionals and instructors in the beautiful town of Mastatal.

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$50/person

Personalized Day Workshop

Want to learn more about our sustainability practices? We offer numerous half day workshops for guests and visitors designed to inspired and re-skill you for a more resilient world. Usually running 1.5 to 2 hours, these workshops can often be booked with short notice. We require a two person minimum to run a course. Costs are $25/person and $20/person for five or more participants. When requesting a booking, please specify the type of workshop you'd like. The workshops we currently offer include:

Introduction to Permaculture Principles

Experience the principles of permaculture in action! From starting small to accelerating succession to energy efficient planning we will explore the practical application of these principles around our site.

Plants for the Tropical Homestead

Explore the perennial vegetables, medicinal plants, and trees crops which feed and heal us in the humid tropics.

Plant Propagation

Spend time in our nursery learning the art and science of seed starting and vegetative plant
propagation; including cuttings, layering, and grafting.

Tropical Agroforestry Tour

Walk through the Ranch’s agroforestry systems in order to understand the holistic approach we have taken toward creating a more resilient, place-based, and permanent agriculture.

Soil Fertility Strategies

Learn how we cultivate a healthy soil in our harsh tropical climate. We will focus on biomass species, biochar production, and microoganism cultivation.

Making Your Own Soap

Learn about basic soap chemistry and how to make your own soap using locally sourced oils and fats.

Starting Your Own Permaculture Project

Learn how the Ranch got started, how it has structured its projects and people, and how it has taken on the many challenges of managing a permaculture project in the tropics.

Sauerkraut and Kimchi in any Climate!

Fermentation is a technique that has been used for thousands of years to preserve food. In this workshop learn how to make your own versions of two classic vegetable ferments—sauerkraut and kimchi. The methods you learn can be applied to many different types of vegetables, in any climate.

Fermenting Vegetables for Health and Nutrition: Techniques in Brining

Live culture fermented foods form a crucial component to a healthy diet and digestive tract. In this class you will learn some of the science and magic behind fermentation, as well as simple techniques for making your own fermented vegetables at home, no matter where you live.

Introduction to Brewing Live-Culture Herbal Sodas

Learn how to brew your own homemade live-culture sodas with local sugars, fruit juices, and herbs! These delicious and healthy sodas are packed with vitamins and minerals, herbal medicines, and probiotics. This class includes your own SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) to get your own batches going as soon as you get home.

Basic Gluten-Free Herbal Beers

It ss much easier than you thought to brew your own alcohol. Learn the basic principles behind brewing, and how to make simple brews at home with local herbs. You don’t need barley! This class may change your life.

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Key Stats.

Year founded

2000

Size of project site

120 hectares

Dry season

January to August

Languages spoken

  • English
  • Espanol

People on site

12 - 40

Wet season

September to December

Living Conditions.

Sleeping

  • entire house
  • shared rooms
  • private room

Omnivore Food

  • communally cooked meals
  • over 80% locally sourced

Internet

  • slow: emails only

Ongoing classes

  • permaculture
    1-2 times per week
  • nutrition/cooking
    multiple times a day

Opportunities.

Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center is currently offering the following opportunities:

  • Permaculture
  • natural building
  • Agroforestry
  • Whole foods processing
  • beekeeping

Contact Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center.

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