Volunteer Project Suggestions
Some long-term volunteers can choose a cool and fun pet project to work on, something useful to the farm and the people of the area. The goal is to not only get the project completed, but also to carefully document, with video, photos, and written articles, the entire process to make a “How to Guide”. Projects that fail to work are just as important, because future volunteers, or people working on similar projects in other places, can learn from what we’ve tried to do, and hopefully that will help them to find new solutions. Once the project reports are completed, they should also be promoted online in order to bring some attention to them, and we’ll teach you the basics of how to do that.
We’re hoping to also attract volunteers who already have their own pet projects and ideas that they need the time and space to develop, but most volunteers will not fall into that category, so I’m going to list here a few ideas for the volunteers:
We have an herb garden, but it always needs some TLC. Some of the plants in it require more sun than others, so this needs to be arranged better. Perhaps a partial shade structure for part of it?
Rancho Delicioso is already a garden full of amazing medicinal plants. The problem is, none of us here know more than a handful of them and how they’re used. We need someone who will take the time to read the Costa Rica medicinals book and search the farm for where these plants are, to document and write about them for our website. If possible, you will gather seeds or cutting and try to get them together to create a garden of native herbs close at hand. Any closet herbalists out there? This is the project for you. We currently have a medicinal garden as one of the two Keyhole Mandala gardens, but mostly the medicinals were purchased from other farms, so we need to add to it more of the native species.
Adobe and Hybrid Adobe Brickmaking
We have a lot of red clay soil here which is supposedly great for adobe, and we have Nicaraguan workers who have done some of this in their own country before coming to Costa Rica. The project idea is to get a working system here to make the bricks, by taking the best ideas from our workers, what you can find online, and your own inspiration. Possible materials would include, earth, sand, straw/grass, horse manure, cement, bamboo, etc.
Modern Adobe: I’m particularly interested in also seeing if we can create an adobe brick that has a strategically placed hole, so that when stacked up, the holes make a vertically-oriented vacancy within which we can put rebar or bamboo to strengthen it, or we could also put conduit for water, electric/phone lines, etc.
Cost: Can we calculate a cost per brick, and is it actually cheaper than using concrete block? That’s something that’s very interesting as well, because if we can make it cheaper, it would be something that the local people in the area would take more interest in.
Earthquake Proof Adobe: Adobe is known to collapse from earthquakes, but it doesn’t have to be that way. How do we build with adobe so it’s more resistant to tremors, vibrations, and upheavals?
Growing Living Structures
There are several creative ideas about growing living structures in various forms, by using splicing techniques, or bending and braiding plants together as they grow. Many of the local trees take well to splicing, and some grow extremely quickly. Check out the living bridges of India. This project would be one to start small and pass on to future volunteers to continue and improve.
Trash and materials from the nearby recycling center can be made into fantastic jewelry. The idea for this project would be to create a bunch of beautiful jewelry, and then work on selling it in local gift shops to benefit the farm, and of course to document your wonderful creations online. More info here: Recycled Eco Jewelry Project
There are lots of ideas out there on the internet for inspiration about how to use recycled plastic bottles and other materials to make herb or salad gardens in a small space. A few examples can be seen here: Gardens projects made from recycled bottles
Recipe Creation: Do you love to cook? Then we need you to work on creating amazing new recipes using primarily what we have growing on the farm. Search the internet for some great things to try and then improve them to make them yours. We’re especially interested in RAW food since it’s a popular food category that’s relatively new.
Cookbook: The best and most amazing recipes we’d like to compile into a cookbook.. first online on the website but also a printed cookbook that also highlights and documents the work we’re doing here at Rancho Delicioso.
Restaurant: We want to create a once or twice-weekly restaurant here on the farm, with an “invite only” guest list. Depending on the volunteers and how much energy they have, we could do the cooking ourselves. Or, we can invite various chefs from the area’s favorite restaurants to come out to demonstrate what they can do with the farm’s ingredients.
Face and Body Products – Personal Hygiene Etc
We have many plants growing now at Anamaya that could be used to make facial scrubs, lotions, and products to use at the spa in Anamaya. Perhaps you’d like to invent some recipes for these products and test them on the other volunteers? And if they’re good, you can sell them at Montezuma’s Saturday organic market to benefit the farm.
A list of ingredients we have growing here now is here: http://ranchodelicioso.com/herbs-plants-personal-hygiene-products/
Not everyone is cut out for farm work… maybe you have a broken foot or a bad back, but you’d like to participate somehow? We can probably put you to work on a computer doing various things such as:
Internet Publicity – We will show you how to search the internet for media companies that will want to publish stories about what we’re doing at Rancho Delicioso
Search Engine Optimization – The key to online success is to get to the top of Google’s search results. We’ll teach you how to do this for Rancho Delicioso.
Photography – Are you great with a camera? Then help us to document the work, plants, and people at Rancho Delicioso.
Video Production – Help us by creating “How to” videos for our various projects so that others can easily see how we do what we do.