Finca La Gran Vista was established as a non-profit project in 2001 with the aim of spreading awareness of environmentally sustainable agricultural methods to other farmers in the region. It is intended to provide an example for other farms.
Each morning you will find a whiteboard with the day’s tasks, which will be assigned by Donald.
- Soil conservation measures (construction of terraces, planting of soil-binding grasses)
- Pasture rehabilitation and fence construction
- Vegetable cultivation in raised beds
- Treatment of structural wood in the farm buildings to protect from termites
- Construction and subsequent maintenance of greenhouses
- Planting fruit-bearing trees
- Reforestation of trees native to the area
- Sharing ideas with visiting local farmers
- Sharing ideas with visiting local children and foreign students on ecological school tours
- Managing free-range poultry
- Showing visitors the multiple uses that certain plants have, as a treatment for both human health and plant welfare
- Fabricating composts using materials grown on the farm
- Participating in activities that allow for a greater appreciation of Costa Rican culture
- Cultivating the Californian Red Worm for the enrichment of organic fertilizers
- Participating in different developmental activities within the community such as the refurbishment of infrastructure (school, church, road, Gran Vista living area, etc.)
A typical daily schedule will be as follows:
• 7 - 9 a.m. Work
• 9 - 9:30 a.m. Break
• 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Work
• 11.30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch
• 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Work
The volunteers will stay with the host family in a rustic cabin. There are four rooms set aside for the students, with two bunk beds in each. Also, there are open places to set Camping Tents with room for six people or more.
We provide 3 meals a day. Meals will consist of simple Costa Rican food, including lots of cooked rice and beans. If you have special dietary needs, please let the La Gran Vista office know ahead of time. Please note that vegetarianism is not the norm in Costa Rica but simple requests for no meat can easily be honored. Volunteers are welcome to store their own food in the refrigerator, but please remember that space is limited.
Volunteers are expected to keep their rooms clean, including the bathroom and kitchen. Volunteers are welcome to use the washing machine.
Donald organizes regular tours to various sights of interest, including the beaches on Dominical and Uvita; horse riding, taught by Donald’s youngest son Terry; and visits to the nearby waterfall and beach. If volunteers choose to participate in any activities during their free time, all costs associated with that activity (e.g. transport, tickets, etc.) are the responsibility of the volunteers, not Finca la Gran Vista.
The manager of the project, Donald Villalobos, is an agricultural engineer who has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture for over 36 years and has seen firsthand how traditional farming practices have contributed to habitat degradation in Costa Rica.
To bring a change in the way agriculture is practiced, it must be demonstrated to the farmers that the new practices are superior to those currently in use.