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Natural Building

Restoring degraded land to agro-cloud-forest with Kristen Krash of Sueño de Vida: 137

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Kristen Krash for Abundant Edge.png

I was first introduced to Kristen Krash through Atulya Bingham, the well known author and natural builder who’s been on this show a few time. She told me about this incredible little project in Ecuador focused on regenerating the native cloud forest and off-grid living, and that I had to speak with Kristen about her journey. When I got to chat with Kristen I was amazed at how well she knew her bioregion and the experience she could speak from about getting her dream project off the ground with her partner in the last few years.

Three short years ago Kristen and her partner Juan bought a degraded piece of land that she describes as a green desert, because though it was covered in non-native pasture grasses, the original tropical forest had been logged and was struggling to grow back. They called their project Sueño de Vida and set out with the goal of turning it into a nature reserve, permaculture farm, natural building project, and education center dedicated to forest restoration and sustainable living.

In this interview Kristen gives a remarkably well informed explanation of how the industries in her area have left damaged ecosystems in their wake and the challenges of trying to restore them. She and I talk about the similarities and hilarious mishaps that we’ve both experienced with our respective projects and getting them off the ground with limited time and resources. She also walks me through the evolution and stages of their reforestation plan and some of the experiments they’ve done and the sites they’ve observed around them to help them move forward. She also gives great advice for people who are interested in starting this kind of lifestyle and how to plan for an off-grid transition.

Before we get started, if you want to know more about similar projects to this one, check out the previous episodes from this series on reforestation and agroforestry. I’ve got great interviews from Jairo Rodriguez in southern Mexico and Alex Kronick, a good friend of mine from Guatemala who are both working to regenerate the tropical forests in their area through different techniques and resources. The three of these interviews are meant to be something of a trilogy of relatively small size private land projects dedicated to a mixture of native forest regeneration as well as ecotourism and minor farming for economic viability in the tropics. All three have a lot in common, but with different approaches to reach their goals. You can find links to all these episodes on the website at abundantedge.com

Resources:

Sueno de Vida’s website

https://royalcacao.com

Choco Mashpi’s website

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