The Project

Status Update

2012 - 2014
We acquired the house, designed and started-up the Guest House and continued searching for a property to develop the Eco Community.

We found the land in Las Guabas Arriba, went through a decision-making process, and made the decision to buy.
Formal purchase and title-transfer process - of course these things always take longer than expected, but it's done, we have title. 

As of June, 2017, the Initiative has an operations center at the Guest House and a 21 Hectare Finca in it's natural state - in the last century (perhaps longer), this land has not been inhabited and has only been farmed sporadically and only in small sections.

Currently in-process are the land-plan that will become the base for the Community Design, the stream crossing and access road design, research that will allow us to participate in reforestation projects and develop an educational institute with formal accreditation, and establishment of the Panama branch of the Gaia Tasiri Association. As you can see, we have many balls in the air and are keeping busy!

a young guayaba tree

Creating the Design - land base

The Integrated Community Design will be the basis for ongoing development of all of the interrelated parts of this initiative.  This design will be based on the digitalized land plan, a walking survey, and site-specific observations. Different zones and usage areas, internal roads/paths, common areas, member lots, and areas for productive projects will be defined.

This will let us know where to best start working to improve and create soil to sustain future productive projects, where to begin reforestation so that the trees serve multiple functions, and where to best capture water to sustain all life in the Eco Community. These are tasks that require tons of attention in their design and involve many components and subsystems.

We're definitely looking for people who can help with this.

Creating Community - people base

Over the years we've done a lot of research into what creates community - and what does community really mean. We're learning from the successes & failures of previous projects, from our mentor project 8thLife La Palma, and from many colleagues and our studies of community building of all types, not just Intentional Communities and EcoVillages.

8thLife La Palma studied the temporary communities of their action-learning programs and confirmed that lasting relationships & solid teams are created when a series of criteria are met.  They then distilled these criteria into some basic models, not techniques or recipes, but models that help in understanding what's going on under the surface. Those models are now taught in Module 1 (People-Care) of the Integral Permaculture Course.  That's why it's a requirement that everyone who joins us takes the course.

Because we're creating community, it's really important for people who are interested in this initiative to come visit first.  To meet us, see where we live, see how we live, and use that information to decide about joining us.  This also gives us a chance to meet you and this way we have more information to help us decide on your application.  It's a two-way evaluation process as we look to create a diverse, creative, and enthusiast community.

Creating Eco-Employment - financial base
Eco-Employment? YEP! Our initiative doesn't exist in a bubble.  It has to work within the current system and its less-than-ideal reality.  Given that, we can create better lifestyles for ourselves while working to transform those realities through the creative use of resources.

The initiative has land. The initiative has an ops center with reliable internet.  Putting on our thinking caps, there are tons of opportunities for eco-employment -- using our resources to their best advantage while generating useful products and income.

There will be a series of self employment opportunities  created through the integral design of the Eco Community - and we won't know what they are, specifically, until that's done. But through our years of investigation and learning, we know there are several initial ideas that create an inter-linking of skills and work-areas that would ensure a solid EcoBusiness base to make the Community very viable & prosperous for all, especially the local economy. Here are a few ideas.

Business that could be started up during the initial phase of the project while we're still not physically present on the farm all the time:

  • Bamboo: since it grows quickly, has many possible uses on the Finca, and can be sold locally.  Resident members would source building materials for their houses on the Finca first, and there will be many uses in the common areas. It's also good for furniture and can be used for decorations.  
  • Honey: reestablishing a healthy bee population in the world is an important task - and honey production should be linked to other agricultural products, like possibly passion fruit.
  • Hemp: we'll need to study Panamanian law to be sure it can be grown here, but it would be great to have this plant for construction, consumption and so many other uses
  • Coconuts: there are a number of products that come from the coconut, including coconut water, milk, and oil, shredded coconut, and coconut fibers. 

A few more ideas:

  • the land is ideal for a small rustic campground.  Based on our experience with the Guest House, we think a small section of the land could be designated for this.
  • we are keen to have eco-builders / engineering enthusiasts, especially those that are excited about working with recycled materials.  Possibly the most important tasks for next generations, together with re-creating soil & regenerating vital eco-systems, is to find ways to use the huge quantities of 'rubbish' that our industrial societies have generated, and transform those once again into valuable resources.
    • Making small-scale windmills, water-pumps, water-collection infrastructures and solar-power tech is an important addition to all of the above, as well as finding innovative ways to make houses from waste materials.
  • this is the perfect place for whoever already has or wishes to develop an online business or is a writer for example. The peace & quiet of the surroundings, combined with the great beauty of the place & internet connection at the Guest House is very supportive of this kind of work as well.

Some businesses for when people are living on the Finca:

  • growing & selling organic produce, which can be sold in the popular local markets or in tourist oriented markets  or can be sold more profitably processed in some way
    • fruits and vegetables
    • nursery plants
    • chickens
    • pigs
    • rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, sheep
And of course we're open to suggestions! (See more on the under-development EcoBusiness Opportunities page.)
So, if this sounds great and you're asking yourself, "How do I get involved and what does it cost?" Here's a quick description and links to where we describe things in more detail. We have an application process that involves a visit, an application form, a two-way evaluation and mutual agreement, a commitment to study Integral Permaculture, and an investment.

Your investment is a share in the community. In 2017 the initial share value is $20,000.  This gives you access to a residential lot on which to build your house in one of the healthiest possible living environments, access to productive land for other projects, and a supportive living and working environment plus some interesting business opportunities, in case, like most of us, you're not financially independent.  Of course your home and business can be sold if you ever wish to move on, adding greatly to your investment.

For more information please see The Opportunity page, Building Skills & Creating Employment, and the following pages:

Visiting us:  this can be for 2 weeks, 1 month, 6 months, etc. We offer medium and long-term stay options at the Guest House.

Joining us:  After the mutual decision is made, then you invest in a share of the Eco Community.  With your share comes a lot to build your house on and the ability to develop productive projects on the land, along with participation and vote in the village assemblies. 

Supporting us: We welcome passive investors (and donations) as well. This allows people who don't yet have the money to buy a share, but who have the skills and desire to take on this challenge to be part of the initiative.