Sheila  Duffy - Sustainable Development Consultant & Coach


Costa Rica provides a rich living laboratory for understanding the relationship between people, land and food on international national, regional and local scales.  It is a small county that possesses an impressive spectrum of approaches to natural resource conservation and food production, some of which are best practice models of sustainable development.

Seeing first hand, and participating in, activities designed to produce food to meet present needs and also preserve the natural resources base upon which food production depends provides a powerful learning opportunity for "foodies", "conservationists" and those generally concerned about how to strike a balance between economic development and environmental sustainability.

Dr. Duffy's background allows her to expertly guide your service opportunity in Costa Rica.  In addition to her background related to conservation and agriculture, she has a 25 year connection to Costa Rica (especially the Perez Zeledon region) having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, done academic research and worked with small scale farmers there. 

Together with her Costa Rican colleagues including agriculture professionals, conservation professionals, farmers and business owners, she provides visitors with access to people and places that aren't readily available to tourists. 

Guided trips to Costa Rica are offered twice a year in June/July and in December/January.  Each trip is customized to the specific goals, interests, and schedules of the participant group pivoting from the San Isidro de El General region in the Southern Pacific Zone of the county.  Customized trips can also be arranged for individuals upon request.

Participants will:

Learn about the history, economy, ecosystems flora and fauna, and culture of Costa Rica
• Learn how different foods are grown, processed and distributed
• Learn about the various ecosystems and habitats ranging from primary forest to mangroves
• Visit biological preserves, watershed conservation, permaculture and ecotourism projects
• Visit traditional, large-scale agricultural operations producing pineapple, palm oil, sugar cane, cattle, and coffee
• Visit small scale farms and organic farms producing vegetables, coffee, wine, and cheese, greenhouses, and aquaculture projects
• Visit community development projects
• Visit farmers markets
• Participate in service activities throughout the visit ranging from trail maintenance for ecotourism projects to providing operations, business and marketing expertise to small scale farmers and business owners
•  Pre-departure orientation, coaching session and frequent learning check-ins, and post-trip coaching session with Dr. Duffy

Visits to beaches, hot springs, indigenous communities, volcanoes and horseback rides in the forest, hikes, dancing, massages and manicures/pedicures can be arranged. Spanish language instruction can be a part of your program, if desired. 

Transportation to and from the airport in San Jose to San Isidro de El General can be arranged. Lodging options include homestays and hotels.  Enjoying traditional foods is a daily delight.

In addition to learning, serving and enjoying Costa Rica, participants provide income to small scale farmers and rural residents by visiting their communities, farms and homes.

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