"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.
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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.
To learn about who this course is designed for, learning outcomes, what to bring, and much more, please read our PDC Course Information Book at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/562a70d4e4b02dc3c968a4c4/t/57e56619e6f2e1245f3c4250/1474651674144/PDC+Course+Information+Book.pdf.
At the end of this course students will understand the roles of each of the ingredients involved in natural earthen mixtures both for plasters and for building. This key understanding will allow students to apply this knowledge when building for themselves or in other situations, empowering students to go on and build successfully with natural materials.
Students will also gain competency in plaster application and be introduced to a number of plasters from around the world including tadelakt, Venetian and polished clay.
This class will be perfect for people looking for an introduction to natural building or for people who already have some plastering experience and would like to learn some new techniques and finishes.
Base coat plastering
Wattle & Daub
Theory of materials
Clay and straw finish coat
Simple polished lime
Clay carving & artistry
Venetian polished lime
Questions & feedback
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
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.
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.
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.
Size of project site
People on site
12 - 40
January to August
September to December
- entire house
- shared rooms
- private room
- communally cooked meals
- over 80% locally sourced
- slow: emails only
- permaculture1-2 times per week
- nutrition/cookingmultiple times a day
Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center is currently offering the following opportunities:
- natural building
- Whole foods processing
Contact Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center
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