The organization saw its beginnings in 2003 with Jonathan Cerdas’s and Carlos Marin’s vision to put lesser known regions of Costa Rica on the map for rural eco-tourism. Their home region, Los Santos, is known for its green cloud-forested mountains, cool climate and coffee production. Inspired to share the beauty of this part of Costa Rica, they created Santos Tours, an eco-tourism company that made the Los Santos Region a significant destination for rural tourism. After several years of success, they took their organization to the next level by implementing a new mission to bring sustainable development to the region. For thousands of local farmers, coffee is the main crop and source of income. Jonathan and Carlos understood that a sustainable development model is crucial to the future of the forest and the people. They developed one to support the growing number of farmers economically, conserve the natural cloud forests and water systems, and to create an awareness of ecology in rural communities. With a deep concern for the community, social issues, and environmental conservation, Santos Tours combined rural tourism with sustainable development with the foundation of Green Communities in 2009. Today Green Communities partners with educational institutions and volunteer organizations to offer student volunteers an opportunity to be part of this project vital to the sustainable development of the Los Santos Region.
To bring sustainable development to the Los Santos region by converting conventional coffee farms into organic ecological coffee farms. With the involvement of student volunteers, Green Communities will protect the cloud forests, raise the economic status and awareness of ecology in local communities, while creating mediums for cultural exchange.
UNITED NATIONS RIO+20 CONFERENCE 2012
The UN Rio+20 Conference was a historic opportunity to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all. Out of 150 applicants from Latin America, 4 were invited to speak at the conference on sustainable development. Out of those 4, Green Communities was one of the organizations that had the privilege to participate and contribute at this global event.
Green Communities has partnered with various Educational Institutions and Volunteer Organizations such as:
CERTIFICATE OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
FROM THE INSTITUTE OF COSTA RICAN TOURISM
Created in 1930, the Institute of Costa Rican Tourism (ICT) became the national governing body that approves and regulates tourism within the country. Green Communities has been recognized and certified by the ICT as an organization demonstrating sustainable development.
Meet the Team
Jonathan Cerdas is the Program Manager, Project Leader and Coordinator for all the programs. He studied Business Tourism at Cartago College in Costa Rica. He received a certificate of Collaboration from the UNA (National University) in San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica, for implementing clean technology in coffee plantations in the Los Santos Region between 2009-2010. In 2012 Jonathan presented to the U.N. during the Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development. He has also helped with training and technical assistance at the Change Management and Strategic Alliances for SMEs in the Los Santos Tourism sector in Costa Rica.
Carlos Marin is the Director of Administration and General Manager of Green Communities. He works on project development and also manages logistical support. He attended high school in the region of Los Santos, Costa Rica, and studied Business Administration and Tourism at Cartago College.He has participated in workshops for Bio Energies of Costa Rica and is a leader in the production of biodiesel technology in the Los Santos Region.
Arturo Valenciano is the Technical Support Coordinator for Green Communities. He graduated with a degree in Agronomy from the University of Costa Rica. Before completing his education he gained experience working in alternative agriculture. He has worked with many Costa Rican organic farming associations, such as APODAR located in Zarcero and APROZONOC located in Cartago. During this time he developed an expertise in organic agriculture, soil conservation and crop management. He is in charge of all the farms in process of certification.