Costa Rica Rural Community Empowerment Project

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Project Accomplishments

Business Development

With planning support, the families of the Farm and Agro-tourism Association of Los Santos (FAALS) cooperative have successfully diversified farm income though the creation of three innovative businesses: a direct-trade organic-in-the-shade coffee business established in 2005; an agro-tourism coffee farm tour business established in 2008; and, currently an eco-tourism adventure trekking and farm home-stay business.All cooperative business profits support family farm incomes and future farm business development.

Non-economic Benefits

Other non-economic benefits that FAALS have gained/continue to gain include ‘relationship and trust building’ collaborations between regional communities on strengthening livelihood security; the strategic nurturing of young pioneer and women leaders; and an enhanced capacity to create continued change due to support from Canadian and Costa Rican universities, government agencies, and NGOs. The project has also previously placed three young adults (two young women, one young man) from the FAALS cooperative families on full scholarships to study at Vancouver Island University. A fourth student (Esteban Rivera from Quebrada Grande) will attend VIU on a scholarship fall 2013. These scholarships, which are an important annual and ongoing aspect of the project that promotes cross-cultural learning and sharing are jointly raised by VIU students and VIU’s Faculty of International Education. 

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

The number of certified sustainable farms within FAALS is currently three. Field visits to Earth University and certification training workshops by the Rainforest Alliance and the Nubotropica Foundation will be run for FAALS during the August – December 2013 period. FAALs will boost their number of certified farms to eight in 2014. Sustainable and integrated farming methods are a major educational aspect of the FAALS eco-tour-trekking business.

"I want to live, I want to give... I crossed the ocean for a Heart of Gold." (Neil Young)

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Maintained by bruce degrosbois
last updated in 2016