Not only did I learn so much about permaculture and get my hands dirty and feet muddy... I learned how to live in a community
Living in paradise with 30 other people... it feels like vacation, but you're getting this incredible education, and it's really a launchpad for the rest of your life
Ned Parker, 29, USA
Work trade Apprentice, 2014-2016
“Before coming to Verde, I had never thought of myself as a leader. As the months went by during my apprenticeship, I gained more responsibility. I was put in charge of building a shower system, extending our water system for an upcoming retreat, and several community gardens. I found myself coordinating volunteer labor. A year and a half later, with newfound skills in farming and project management and an understanding of what I believed in, I was ready to return to the US and begin my new career.
Every time I interview for a new job, I draw on my experience of managing projects at Verde. Employers are always very interested in the leadership, communication, and conflict resolution skills I gained at Verde. The experience has, hands-down, made me a stand-out and unique candidate in this competitive job market. I truly owe my great job opportunities to Verde. I owe my newfound confidence to Verde. I owe my devout activism to Verde.
Verde is a wonderful place to learn about sustainable farming. It is also a wonderful place to unwind and take in a new flavor of life. But I want to stress the personal growth aspect of this place. Living in an intentional community forces you to face your flaws, learn how to communicate, and be your highest and best self. Once you step away from your current/monotonous situation and enter the jungle, all of the circumstantial and materialistic aspects of your personality melt away, and you find your core again. Finding this while being surrounded by a caring community that frequently challenges you is the recipe for growth and confidence. Our society needs experiences like this. This place changed my life forever and I'll always return.”
After his apprenticeship at VerdEnergia, Ned began a job managing one of the country's largest farmers markets, and now currently works as a Jr Project Manager for the US Department of Energy.
Javier Abdelnour, 24, Costa Rica
Permaculture Course Student, 2016
“I chose Verdenergia Pacifica to take my PDC course because it seems very interesting to me how they are taking land that has been completely degraded by cattle farms and regenerating it through specific agricultural and land management techniques, while at the same time building a sustainable community that supports the flourishing of everything and everyone that lives in the area. I can truly say that the course surpassed my expectations. Not only did I learn about true sustainable living, but I also grew as a person in the short time that I was there. I met incredible people with amazing ideas and we had a lot of fun everyday. The course allowed me to see the world with different eyes and it lead me to start a degree in Agricultural Sciences at EARTH University, which I’ll be finishing by the end of 2020. Currently, I am doing an internship at an organic farm in Portugal and every day I’m applying things that I learned during my stay at Verde.”
David Rosenberg, 24, USA
“I elected to intern at Verde to learn regenerative agricultural practices. My experience was highly dynamic - I did everything from serving food to building an elevation profile of a river and lived with a community of 5 to 30 people. It was inspiring to connect with other like-minded people and to live off a vibrant landscape. Seeing permaculture in action and getting to know Blacksheep's active vision led me to come back to do more serious work with the organization."
After his internship at VerdEnergia, David also worked as a consultant for Blacksheep for our processing facility project.
Tanner Csonka, 24, USA
Permaculture Course Student, 2019
“Finding Verde was one of the greatest ventures of my life. It is a place hand hewn by love with a vision that is infectious and tangible. It’s a journey from the realms of the median to the outskirts of what is possible. Living in a community can be difficult and deeply rewarding. It is demanding at times and asks you to live for more than yourself.
What struck me from my PDC was the people that permaculture gathers together: people who desire to give back, tend to a better relationship with the land, their peers, and themselves. Permaculture is more than learning the practical know-how and skills to grow food. Immersing oneself in a PDC gives a perspective of philosophy and a lens that encourages reflective, thoughtful, growth and development in relation to one’s environment and true needs. Re-orienting oneself in to be in better relation; weaving people and place together to look after one another. Permaculture Design Courses are what I wish college was. Connections were created that I will cherish forever.
The instructors Steve; a humble ever-flowing river of knowledge, and a profound powerhouse, deterred to change the world (one sapling at a time). Mark; a social systems savant, able to give insights to orient oneself to the larger mind. And if you’re thinking about skipping out on Katrina's class, you’re missing out on a chance to really honor yourself.
Verde’s collective mission, the scope of work, emphasis on incorporating into the local community, understanding the importance of giving back, growing relations and resistance, all while acknowledging and honoring the navigation of complex history and potential cultural barriers is something to be revered. VerdeEnergia is wild, healing, exotic, diverse, tasty and healing as Costa Rica itself. A nurtured young sapling in a worn landscape, growing new roots for a whole forest of change. If you feel the call, just go.”
With the principles of Permaculture as our guiding tool, we seek to transmute the challenges facing our communities into replicable solutions. Our work enables us to find right livelihood through the regeneration and gentle cultivation of the forest we are honored to call home.