Sustainable Agriculture at Finca Osa Verde

An Overview: 

The Osa Verde Farm (Finca Osa Verde) is an 10-acre experimental project to transform a pesticide heavy, ex-cattle ranch into a working organic farm and agroecological system. The site will serve as a testbed and eventual regional model to transform unsustainable farming practices into viable systems that support a biodiverse and healthy environment; in terms of both the surrounding wildlife, environment, and the fresh produce from the farm. 

The Osa Verde Farm forms a key piece of the holistic ‘Conservation Campus’ which also hosts a Biological Station, BioLodge, 3,000 hectares of private reserve and well over 20km of trails through a variety of wet tropical forest and coastal habitats. Through the creation of organic and efficient food systems that create viable and wildlife friendly habitat, we can better protect and conserve the Osa Peninsula while providing enhancing the livelihoods of residents

Our farm is a learning and training site for local communities and international persons interested in productive, sustainable farming practices. By employing agroecological practices, Finca Osa Verde is investigating effective and efficient approaches to transform degraded lands & unsustainable food systems into productive and viable systems that benefit the flora, fauna, producer and consumer.

We work to ensure that our methods and products are:

  • Climate smart: increasing carbon density per hectare of occupied land and decrease carbon emissions;
  • Biodiversity friendly: resulting in a net increase in biodiversity over other agricultural and land-use methods;
  • Ecologically informed: integrating ecological principles that promote more efficient nutrient cycling, restoring biological movement corridors, healthier biological controls mechanisms, and cultivating native plant species;
  • Ethically based: using organic and health-promoting production methods, thus reducing toxic impacts on public health and the environment in which we work.

Photo Credit: Bryan Rhynes

Working towards a more sustainable system: 

The Osa Verde Farm aims to become a working model for the region, where we can demonstrate sustainable agriculture and integrated farming techniques that can be easily adopted by local farmers. These techniques will provide incentives to enhance the native abundances of flora and fauna while improving livelihoods and positively impacting the community. The farm is not only a site for food production but will also be a platform for demonstration and dissemination of best practices. We want to teach others that agriculture and conservation can go hand-in-hand. The incorporation and integration into our conservation teams Botanics Project and Restoration & Rewilding Network will promote organic and sustainable agroforestry to local landowners engaging in rainforest restoration efforts. This will enhance the likelihood that restoration efforts will be long-lasting as opposed to short-lived & reconverted.

 

We work to:

  • Correct traditionally farmed lands that are harmful to biodiversity into a wildlife friendly landscape.
  • Produce yields organic produce to be consumed within our stations and biolodge.
  • Act as a training site to introduce local communities, and young people from Costa Rica and internationally, to best farming practices.
  • Host an experimental facility to address challenges facing organic agriculture in the lowland wet tropics.
  • Establish a seed bank that is biodiverse and includes precious heirloom varieties of foods.
  • Develop commercial revenue streams that will ensure a longer-term stability for the farm. 

Why we do it:

  • To regenerate and rewild a once toxic and anti-wildlife friendly cattle pasture into a rainforest-friendly and wildlife-rich organic farming system.
  • To restore ~50 hectares of once degraded cattle pastures into tropical rainforest that promotes connectivity for wildlife.
  • To restore unused and nutrient deficient pastures into nutrient rich fields that contain essential minerals, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, that can produce for generations.
  • To host a local seed bank of diverse heirloom crops that can be distributed and increase farming genetic biodiversity.
  • To educate and promote sustainable organic agriculture to well over 1,000 international visitors of Osa Conservation a year, including local students and landowners. 
  • Create a more mindful community  through the teaching teaching and training of sustainable agriculture and holistic conservation approaches to succeed globally.
  • To provide fresh, local and organic produce for our stations that doesn’t need to be trucked from San Jose and other far reaches of Costa Rica.

Currently:

As the Osa Verde Farm operates jointly with a conservation organization, we are in a unique position to explore many different aspects of agroecology and permaculture. We are working to reach local farmers, ranchers, and community members by inviting them to trainings and events where they can learn about rotational crops, composting, seed-banks, crop biodiversity, and the role that native species bring to an agroecological system.