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The Art and Practice of Live Culture Fermentation

May 5, 2015 - May 7, 2015

march 24 2014 ranch 006


  • Class Description:
    Join Laura Killingbeck and the staff of Rancho Mastatal for this life-changing course.  Experience the Ranch’s tried and tested fermentation recipes, and leave with an understanding of the science and nutrition behind fermented foods as well as the skills to make your own ferments at home. 
    Fermentation is both a strategy and a method for utilizing whole foods on a local and regional scale. It is an essential skill for anyone who farms or eats locally, and a foundational piece of personal and community health.As humans and microbes coevolve, we continue a relationship that began billions of years ago when microbes began to co-regulate the world around them and diversify into other life forms. Whether we acknowledge it or not, this relationship and coevolution continues to the present day in our own bodies and food systems. By recognizing patterns of resilience in the microbial world we can utilize microbial diversity to build resilience in our own bodies and within our communities.Fermentation is one of the oldest and most widely used food safety and preservation techniques in the history of human life.Learn how to:
    • Ferment any vegetable into pickles, kimchi, or kraut
    • Brew herbal, fruit, and medicinal sodas and beers
    • Transform milk into basic cheese, sour cream, butter, and yogurtExperience the Ranch’s tried and tested fermentation recipes, and leave with an understanding of the science and nutrition behind fermented foods as well as the skills to make your own ferments at home. Take home live cultures, recipes, and the inspiration to ferment wherever you live! For both beginning and advanced fermenters.

  • Teacher Bios:
    Laura Killingbeck
    Laura, a member of the Rancho Mastatal staff, is wildly passionate about food, nutrition, and whole systems health.  After studying existential philosophy and sociology at university, she spent a number of years travelling around the world and working with various farms and non-profit organizations, most with a focus on food security.  Laura began fermenting at the Ranch in 2010.  The following year she took her live cultures on the road and travelled across Latin America trading kombucha, kefir, and soda cultures.  (Apparently having a kombucha SCOBY in your water bottle is an excellent conversation starter on long bus rides.)  Since then she has worked as a full time Fermentation Specialist for Round the Bend Farm, as a Local Food Liason for an organic vegetable business, and managed a local foods restaurant and store.  She currently manages the farm to table Food Processing and Fermentation Programs at the Ranch, assisting in the production of thousands of gallons of fermented vegetables, sodas, herbal wines, and vinegars.   Over the last four years she has taught workshops and classes in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the United States.

    Tim Ohara
    I am the Director of Food Systems and Fermentation at Rancho Mastatal Center for Sustainability Education. I also teach and consult internationally with farms and restaurants.

  • Language class is taught in: English
  • Cost/Accommodations:
    US$400 – foreigners (non-Central American)
    US $300 Residents andex-pats
    US $200 Central AmericansThese prices include lodging, all meals, course instruction and full access to Rancho Mastatal and its private wildlife refuge

   — Food Options: Vegetarian

  • Directions:
    Driving from San José
    Take the highway out of the capital going towards Ciudad Colón and Puriscal (sometimes referred to as Santiago). We recommend you drive during the day. To get to the highway from downtown San José, take Paseo Colón west, until you hit Sabana Park, then take a left, and follow the signs to Escazú/Ciudad Colón. If you are coming from Alajuela or the airport, you will have to head towards San José before picking up the highway to Ciudad Colón. A local map will be very helpful. On the way to Ciudad Colón, you will pass the town of Santa Ana.  The highway can get a little confusing just before getting to Ciudad Colón.  Make sure that you follow the correct signs.  DO NOT HEAD TOWARDS CALDERA.  In Ciudad Colón follow the one-way streets and signs towards Puriscal. You will then climb up and out of the Central Valley, and pass through the Quítirrisi Indian Reserve. From Ciudad Colón, it’s about 40 minutes to Puriscal. Once in Puriscal, follow signs to Parrita/Quepos. Once outside of Puriscal, continue on the main road through the towns of Santa Marta, La Palma, Salitrales, and other small communities. The paved road ends about 15 kilometers outside of Puriscal. About 1 hour and 15 minutes after leaving Puriscal and soon after passing by the entrance to the administrative offices of La Cangreja National Park, you will arrive to an intersection. A small run-down bus stop and a few signs, one announcing “Mastatal”, mark the junction. Make this left hand turn, and continue for 6 kilometers until you arrive to the town of Mastatal. There is one intersection along this road. Stay left and continue down the road. As you enter Mastatal, we are the house on the left with the red roof. There is a black gate that marks the entrance to the Ranch.



May 5, 2015
May 7, 2015
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Rancho Mastatal
Costa Rica
506 2200-0920
View Venue Website


Tim O’Hara

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