Shifting to Ecological Farming in the Costa Rican Cloud Forest

Themes: Community Development, Environmental Conservation

Related GLA Program: Costa Rica: Spanish Service Adventure

Grant Recipient: Green Communities

Transitioning small coffee farms from conventional to ecological production leads to mitigation of local health issues, protection of the environment and long-term economic benefits to growers and their communities. Ecological farms focus on maintaining a harmonious relationship between food production and the environment.


1. Local families in the Los Santos region of Costa Rica traditionally own their own parcel of land and farm on it. People here depend on their land to provide for their families.

2. Farming is essential to the local economy, and Green communities works with committed farmers to move to provide sustainable agricultural solutions. Local products include coffee and avocados.

3. This region of Costa Rica features a vibrant ecosystem, where you'll find everything from spider monkeys and quetzals to hawks and sloths.

Additional Information

Green Communities, in partnership with the Global Leadership Adventures International Foundation, has the opportunity to change the landscape in central Costa Rica for generations to come. The organization saw its beginnings in 2003 with Jonathan Cerdas’s and Carlos Marin’s vision to put lesser known regions of Costa Rica on the map for rural eco-tourism. Their home region, Los Santos, is known for its green cloud forested mountains, cool climate and coffee production.

Inspired to share the beauty of this part of Costa Rica, they created Santos Tours, an eco-tour company that made the Los Santos region a significant destination for rural tourism. After several years of success they took their organization to the next level by implementing a new mission to bring sustainable development to the region. For thousands of local farmers, coffee is the main crop and source of income. Jonathan and Carlos realized that a sustainable development model is crucial to the future of the forest and the people. They developed one that could support the growing number of farmers economically, conserve the natural cloud forests and water systems, and educate and create an awareness of ecology in rural communities.

With a deep concern for the community, social issues, and environmental conservation, Santos Tours combined rural tourism with sustainable development with the foundation of Green Communities in 2009. Today Green Communities partners with educational institutions and volunteer organizations to offer student volunteers an opportunity to be part of this project vital to the sustainable development of Los Santos.