Friday, November 11, 2016

Educational and Economic Empowerment: Music, Markets, and More!

At the Sustainability Demonstration Center, we continue to promote learning in active, hands-on, and FUN ways! We are collaborating with the Kioscos Socioambientales group from the University of Costa Rica to host and provide workshops for children. 

Most recently, children have been creating musical instruments with upcycled materials, learning not only about how to diminish our footprints and the amount of trash we produce, but also about how to get CREATIVE and EXPRESS ourselves through art and music.

 There is also a theater workshop that is fun and enriching for the children, and will also bring together the whole community! 

Momentum and positive energy continues to grow and spread not only at the Sustainability Demonstration Center in Guacimal, but also with other communities in Costa Rica. We are getting ready to host a unique, 3-day experience for people from different communities in Costa Rica to come together to share and learn about health, culture, and intelligent economies. 

People will be bringing and sharing the different kinds of food they produce locally and exchange experiences and knowledge about how we can promote health and economic empowerment. In addition, participants will visit our integrated farm and enjoy the lush vegetation and refreshing pools in the river! We not only have an exciting list of talks lined up from experts, but also inspiring and fun karaoke and music to bring everyone together. 

If you are interested in participating in this "encuentro," please call us to sign up! 

From music to farmer's markets, from theater to educational exchanges, there are many exciting activities happening at the Sustainability Demonstration Center. We believe that educational and economic empowerment are key parts of sustainable communities... and we invite you all to join our efforts! 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Community Initiatives & Empowerment!

Why is the Sustainability Demonstration Center an important part of the local community? 

How are we facilitating and encouraging sustainable community development? 

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS & SOCIAL SERVICES: The Center itself is housed in a large historic building that was used as the equivalent of a modern mall, but it had been shut down for over 35 years before Veronica and Alex acquired it. Over these past few years, it has become much more than a place to have meetings, but it has become a hub for locals and visitors.

People come to the Center to receive classes, workshops, and interact together in healthy and fun ways. There was a visiting artist at the farmer's market this past weekend who demonstrated how he makes art out of bone!

Here is an example of a fun, healthy, CREATIVE MOVEMENT workshop from this past Saturday!

RIVER PROTECTION: Water is one of the most vital resources on this planet and for all living things. Here at the Center and in the local community, people have been actively protesting large corporations who are trying to take the water from the pristine Veracruz River. The Center has been very involved in supporting the locals in this endeavor by coordinating with national and international institutions, writing letters and emails, traveling, and more.

Just this past week, Veronica, Alex, and many community members from Guacimal took action by protesting on the streets of San Jose, advocating for the protection of the river.

COMMUNITY INITIATIVES & ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: The Center also provides a free space for locals to hold a weekly farmer's market. The farmer's market takes place every Saturday from 12pm - 5pm and is available for anyone in the community who wishes to come and sell their products and food. In this way, we promote the sale of local products and entreprenuership. Come join us to enjoy some delicious veggies, eggs, tortillas, produce, and other traditional Costa Rican foods!

Part of sustainable community development is recognition of the resources that exist within the community and the empowerment and investment in people. We ALL have talents, ideas, and enthusiasm to share... please contact us at if you are interested in visiting the Sustainability Demonstration Center or have any ideas! We'd love to hear from YOU!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

SDC Sustainability in a Nutshell

At the heart of sustainability is how we influence one another using thoughts, words and actions that match our vision, as the most powerful point of action is ourselves

We strive to focus on what we want to see flourish in our own lives and in the world and be that change we want to see happen, through our own learning and sharing with others.

At the Sustainability Demonstration Center, we aim to demonstrate different environmentally-friendly ways of reducing the footprints we leave behind each day. Learning about how to grow safe, delicious, and nutritious food brings together families and community members with an appreciation for the food we eat. By choosing to produce and eat organic food, we no longer eat food that is laden with chemicals that make us, our land, and our water unhealthy.

We have been actively supporting the community’s opposition to a plan to divert the water from the Veracruz River for a large-scale not sustainable and environmentally damaging agricultural project. With the help of university students and their professors, community members, and many others, we as a community prepared a legal appeal that made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Today, we continue to help organize to protect our river and to influence public policy.

Another way we promote sustainable relationships between people and the environment is through community-based rural tourism. We encourage tourists to engage with the places they visit in ways that are in harmony with the environment. Our guests have the opportunity to help feed chickens, pigs, and other farm animals, getting a hands-on perspective about why it is important to raise animals in a humane and healthy way. Hiking through the forest and swimming in the river help people to reconnect with the world they live in and reflect about how our day-to-day choices impact our planet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Water & the Story behind the Sustainability Demonstration Center

Do you know why water has always been a key part of the story of the Sustainability Demonstration Center? 

It started in 2012, when Alexander and Veronica bought a farm in the quaint little town of Guacimal in the outskirts of the Monteverde mountains. They wanted to grow their own food and live amidst the beauty of nature by a river.

However, their quiet life did not last long.

Soon after they moved, the townspeople informed them about a large-scale irrigation project that threatened the Veracruz River, a pristine ecosystem, and asked for their help. They did not know it at the time, but their decision to become involved to save the river was actually the beginning of the creation of the Sustainability Demonstration Center.

To organize a resistance movement, the town needed a safe and suitable place to hold large meetings. The Casona, which means "big house," as it was called, had been empty for over three decades. Alex and Veronica took a leap of faith that finances would come in time and went ahead and signed to acquire the property. The Casona became the new meeting place for the community in 2014 as they worked together to protect the river and water resources.

If you stop by today, you will see that the Casona has become a hybrid between an educational and community center. It now brings together visitors from all over the world who come to help, learn, enjoy Costa Rican culture, and interact with locals, making the Center an interesting and exciting place to be! 

The community has been protesting large corporations trying to take the water from the pristine Veracruz River. The Center has been very involved in supporting the locals in this endeavor, which entails coordination with national and international institutions, writing letters and emails, traveling, protesting along with locals on the streets in Puntarenas and San Jose, advocating for those who have been affected legally, contacting the media and much more.

This video, “Puntarenas: comunidades organizadas por la defensa del agua / Puntarenas: organized communities in defense of water,” is a great way to learn more about what is happening in Guacimal as well as many places in Costa Rica and around the world. Check out the video by clicking here.

This video report includes cases of several communities, including Santa Rosa de Guacimal, Sardinal de Puntarenas, and the town of Guacimal, where the Sustainability Demonstration Center is located. Community members continue striving to protect the River Veracruz that runs through the town and provides the precious resource of water to its inhabitants and flora and fauna that thrive in this part of the watershed.

With the objective to find solutions to problems regarding water and watershed management, various communities of the Central Canton of Puntarenas organized themselves to strive for a just distribution for common well-being. In May of 2015, the Alliance for the Defense of Hydrologic Resources was formed to defend the basic right to have a sufficient quantity and quality of water for meeting needs. The Center has been co-founder and faithful supporter of the Alliance for the Defense of Water in Puntarenas Province and continues to promote action through this informal organization of more than 20 rural communities.

Among the actions of the Alliance was the work to prioritize the use of water sources for human consumption, knowing that this is a key part of guaranteeing the healthy and quality of life of these populations, especially as environmental degradation of watersheds and climate change continue to impact lives in the Central Pacific zone. 

The efforts to protect water resources and the river for the people, community, and the environment continues! If you are interested in finding out more about the river issues or getting involved, please send us an email at or stop by the Center! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tampa University's Visit: Water Resources and River Recreation!

Thank you to the Tampa University students and the Monteverde Institute for a lovely visit at the Sustainability Demonstration Center! 

These enthusiastic students came to receive a talk about water issues in Costa Rica. Water is such a precious resource for all living things and our planet - by learning and actively protecting our water resources, we can all contribute to the conservation of water. 

They also got to visit with our rescue animals - we currently have two toucans who are in our large outdoor rehabilitation cage that has a large fruiting tree and provides them with natural vegetation and habitat.

They also enjoyed a delicious, home-cooked meals made by local women. 

In addition to fun and food, the students also learned about the ongoing struggle of the townspeople to protect their rivers. They also got to experience the beauty and fun of the river firsthand... a highlight of the visit was definitely splashing and swimming in the river! 

Thanks again for your visit! We welcome anyone who is interested in learning more about water issues and river protection or a dip in the river to stop by! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fostering Planned, Sustainable, and Healthy Community Development!

The past month at the Sustainability Demonstration Center has been filled with fun, delicious food, music and art, and promotion of individual and community health!

Some funds from the Guacimal market have been supporting a new Association that has been formed by community members of the district to foster development that is planned, sustainable, and healthy. Some funds also directly benefit the market itself. One great way for YOU to support is to come and eat the delicious food here at the market that is held EVERY SATURDAY from noon to 5pm! Come support this initiative by the farmers and small entrepreneurs of the region!

There are also delicious fresh, home-baked bread and locally produced jellies. What a delicious combination!

In addition to eating delicious, traditional food at the market, you can also buy fresh, local produce to cook and enjoy at home!

Healthy community development not only includes tasty foods, but also lively traditional marimba music that brings people together!

Thank you to the students from the Environmental Kiosks program of the University of Costa Rica for working with our children to educate them about the use of plastics! Education is truly at the heart of sustainability. 

Another exciting activity hosted by the Center was the Neural Stimulation course given by Hands without Borders. Thank you to these amazing teachers and all of the participants!

The Sustainability Demonstration Center continues to encourage participation from children and community members and visitors of all ages in projects that demonstrate upcycling of old materials and improving the footprints we leave on the Earth we share. We invite you and all of your family and friends to join us!