John Lago Gonzalez
Puerto Rico Upland New Settlement – to establish first-phase durable and low-cost shelter enabling tropical food production and community gathering to support full exploitation of the available solar and water resources of a mountain valley. 21 acre communal holding.
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Design drawing, narrative, budget, timeline
John A. Lago Gonzalez is a co-creater of Tierra Nueva, an emerging permaculture project based in Ponce, Puerto Rico, U.S. He has been involved in permaculture for the last 2.5 years and has also learned from many different teachers in Florida and is currently attending an advanced online permaculture course. He has an active monthly mentor-ship with a permaculture teacher and is currently planning to pursue a diploma in education through PINA.
Ethan Coy, co-creator of Tierra Nueva and John’s cohort in the design submission, began studying with private permaculture teachers, herbalists, and homesteaders while simultaneously studying and serving with monks at a monastery. Choosing a life of service and community he focuses the permaculture lens on his designs for gardens, homeschooling/education, events, community spaces, and technologies.
For their current living, they are predominately caretakers of the land, creating and selling natural products, and organizing community events. Once they get this design implemented, they can transition to living on the land full time and sustaining themselves through their designs and crafts.
For the contest, John submitted a design for Tierra Nueva (with Ethan’s support). Tierra Nueva means “New Soil”. They want Tierra Nueva to be a place where people can come learn, grow, and evolve, then take all that knowledge, and share it with people around the globe. It will be a place where they can show people how to live resiliently, with nature, even during challenging times.
The goal is to develop three divisions based on the three permaculture ethics: A Regenerative Farm & Nursery (EarthCare), Bio-constructed EcoVillage (People & Animal Care), and Cultural & Development Space (FairShare). The property is 21 acres in a mountain valley that contains a flowing river and is mostly wild tropics. This first level design and install will provide adequate facilities to allow the, to stay on property fulltime and to host work exchangers, woofers, volunteers, and small events. The plans include building:
– a gate and wall made with earthbags;
– a superadobe dome with retention wall garden to protect against severe weather;
– a superadobe and bamboo bathhouse with solar hot water, solar-powered electricity, rocket stove, and composting toilet;
– a community pavilion made of superadobe, bamboo, and ferrocrete and will feature a water catchment cistern;
– a regenerative farm and circular garden;
– production areas (made from bamboo) which include a nursery and compost area; and
– a chicken coop made with repurposed supplies.
Tierra Nueva also plans to bring appropriate technologies and methods to Puerto Rico for Hurricane and other natural disasters including prevention tactics, preparation, management, and survival.