Plenitud Teaching and Research Center
- Commenced: 01/09/2011
- Submitted: 19/07/2012
- Last updated: 01/08/2012
- Location: PO Box 394, Las Marias, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
- Phone: 787.806.7094
- Website: www.plenitudpr.org
- Climate zone: Wet/Dry Tropical
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Plenitud Teaching and Research Center
Project TypeRural, Educational
The Plenitud Teaching and Research Center is located in Las Marias, Puerto, and is focused on research and educational outreach in the areas of permaculture food-production systems and natural building techniques.
Plenitud is a non-profit organization focused on the promotion of sustainable and permaculture practices through research, demonstration, and educational outreach. The organization's initial efforts were directed at promoting urban/sustainable gardening practices in San Juan and other urban centers of Puerto Rico. Plenitud worked to design and initiate over 30 urban gardens for residents, churches, and communities throughout Puerto Rico, as well as providing training in sustainable gardening practices to over 250 participants.
Plenitud has also worked to promote the utilization of sustainable building techniques in Puerto Rico, offering trainings in earthbag building and bamboo construction and building a demonstration model in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Recently, Plenitud relocated its center of operations to a 3-acre farm, located in the western mountain range of Puerto Rico. The land was previously clear-cut and used for the commercial plantation farming. In Puerto Rico (as with most countries that have adopted industrial farming techniques) this means the use of herbicide, synthetic fertilizers, and monoculture production. This has presented both a challenge and an opportunity for the organization. There was a significant erosion of almost all top-soil on the farm, leaving acidic and clay-rich sub-soils exposed and creating a couple of land-slides. There were practically no trees or biodiversity left on the small parcel of land. Yet these are the challenges that most farmers in Puerto Rico face today, and in this sense, applying permaculture design principles to the development of this land will be an opportunity to research and demonstrate the process.
Our organization intends on using the experiences and lessons gained in the development of our teaching center as a model for effective transitioning from conventional to sustainable and permaculture farming techniques. There are several projects currently being planned and/or developed:
-installation of rainwater collection systems, ponds and swales
-diversification of plant species, windbreaks, development of a food-forest
-research and experimentation with aqua-ponic systems, including locally produced fish feed
-wide-scale planting of leguminous and support species to cover the exposed soil and improve soil conditions (chop & drop!)
-natural building with earthbag building, hyper-adobe, and bamboo
Plenitud hosts individual and group internships throughout the year, collaborates with several universities throughout the US and Puerto Rico (such as: George Washington University, University of Michigan, Boston University, University of Massacheussets, and the University of Puerto Rico, among others), and currently offers workshops and trainings in urban gardening, sustainable agriculture, and natural building with earthbag technique . Visit our website to learn more about internship opportunities, courses, and developments at the farm.