In 2008, a group of friends and University of Florida graduates living in Gainesville, FL, came together to share everything they could with one another. From that vision Plenitud was born; a community of love that could work as an example of people living together in harmony with each other, the earth, and our larger community. In these early days we were farmless, moneyless, and unsure about how to create this community, but what we did have was the Plenitud Manifesto in its infancy and a lot of faith in the goal.
We flew to Puerto Rico, where one of us grew up (Paula), in the middle of hurricane season and without a car or home. From the minute we landed, Plenitud’s roots began to grow. We had strong relationships from the beginning and conviction in our purpose, and this mission quickly found footing with the people of central Puerto Rico. We met a farmer named Tato who gave us a place to stay and introduced us to “a lady that might like our idea.” We met Ana, who, taken with our vision, opened the doors of her home and farm to help establish Plenitud. With the help of “Mami,” we were able to begin cultivating permaculture and teaching initiatives there in the mountains of Morovis within a month of our arrival on the island.
Over the next three years, we built relationships across the island, creating urban and community gardens across PR. We held workshops at the farm on permaculture and tropical ecology. Through these relationships and word of mouth, we found ourselves hosting groups of students from several major universities service learning and alternative breaks programs. Suddenly we were able to buy basic farming equipment and food for volunteers! Over time, these opportunities spawned further partnerships and the beginning of our largest service program: hosting university groups for academic and service trips. This continues to be our biggest programmatic effort and has branched into innumerable individual and collective partnerships that continue to this day.
During our time in Morovis, Plenitud grew beyond what we ever could have imagined, and eventually the operation needed to branch out to a bigger setting. In 2011, Plenitud landed at our current site in Las Marias, a small community in the rural western mountains full of wonderful, dedicated small-scale farmers. The farm is situated on 15 acres of tropical mountains, with infrastructure and developments that we have cultivated since moving to this new home. We now have a greenhouse, food forests, eco-buildings, campsites, rainwater collection, and a Teaching Center. The local community has welcomed us, and we have endeavored to serve them in loving partnerships by hiring locals to help maintain the farm and acting as a hub of sustainability in Las Marias, offering educational workshops and hands-on farm collaborations.
Over the course of our ten years as an organization, we have seen our original vision for Plenitud come alive. We are a community of individuals living together and joined in a spirit of service, committed to sharing with other communities about how to use their resources in a sustainable way to achieve a more harmonious life.
We aim to continue teaching and sharing both sustainable technologies (permaculture theory, rainwater harvesting, bio-construction, eco-agriculture, etc) as well as related arts and skills that complement our mission of health and wholeness (yoga, holistic medicine, dance and music, vegetarian cooking, etc.) both in Puerto Rico and beyond.