Time in Costa Rica… And What’s Going On at The Latest Batch

Two of us Latest Batchers recently spent a month in Costa Rica. I (Ben) took a Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) course. And TLB chocolate maker Jay met up with a small group of chocolate-maker friends to search for new sources of amazing cacao.. and other ingredients.

We both would have done these things even if it weren’t for The Latest Batch. But our products - dark chocolate, sweet snacking nibs, and others on the way - will benefit as a result of our success.

After two weeks of instruction, hands-on work, and a final group project, I earned my certification. Here’s my group (I’m middle right) after we presented our project...

This course didn’t make me an expert in anything. But it did help me to see life differently.

Permaculture design is such a big idea that most folks (including me) have a hard time defining it. I’ll sprinkle tidbits on permaculture design into future emails and blog posts. But the primary ethics of permaculture are…

  1. Care of earth, including all living and nonliving things
  2. Care of people, to meet basic needs for food, shelter, education, etc.
  3. Contribution of surplus time, money, and energy, to achieve the aims of earth and people care

According to Bill Mollison, co-creator of permaculture design, “The permaculture ethic pervades all aspects of environmental, community, economic and social systems.” And “cooperation, not competition, is the key.”

To give you more of a concrete idea, I spent the two weeks studying things like site analysis and property design, fermentation, plant medicine, natural construction, soil fertility, composting, watersheds, the importance of bees, invisible structures (this is a big one), and more.

I came away with the thought, “Wow! This is such a graceful way to live.”

Implementing the ideas I learned about - and continue to learn - will be a lifelong process. They’ll be a part of everything I do, including TLB.

Jay actually encouraged me to take the PDC. Jay has taken two PDC courses in the past, and highly recommended this place (Rancho Mastatal) and the head teacher (Scott Gallant).

It was a wonderful experience with 30 of the most incredible people I’ve had the privilege of getting to know.

I was planning on talking about Jay’s adventure in this note, too. But it’s best I save that for another day. Coming soon are the details of a new ingredient Jay picked up in Costa Rica. Product development with it is already in the works.

That’s all for now.

As we say in Costa Rica, pura vida!

Ben Morris and The Latest Batch team