Since the 1980s, Costa Rica has been one of the acknowledged leaders in efforts to promote environmental learning. San Josecito Primary school in Alejuela is a great example of how this is done.

A small school of 85 students with big ideas and plans for the future, the most recent project funded by Grand Circle Foundation provided a water catchment system and organic garden. The water system provides water to flush the toilets at the school and water the garden that is planted beside the school. The system does not provide 100% of the water that is needed, as each flush requires 7 gallons of water, but eliminates the need for well water to be used most of the time.


The garden was established with the help of an organic gardener hired as a consultant from Don Juan Education Farms, with the goal to provide healthy food for the students to eat, as well as a place to learn sustainable, organic gardening practices.

Beneath the collection tank, worms help create compost that is used throughout the garden.

The organic garden provides lettuce, tomatoes, corn, bananas and more that are served in the school as part of the daily meals provided. If there are any excess crops, they are sold and the funds reinvested back in the garden.

The garden is laid out to provide meeting spaces for the children to sit and learn while being active participants. A team of teachers and students works each day in the garden with lesson plans connected to the work that is being done.