Since its inception, the Envision Festival has had a focus on sustainability at its heart. The festival boasts a unique approach to this term that’s often loosely thrown around in the festival, however. Included in this unique approach is a distinct focus on Permaculture which has shaped both the festival and the land it takes place on over the last few years.
Permaculture, simply put is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. Envision lists Permaculture as one of its eight founding “pillars”, and Festival co-founders Sarah Wu and Stephen Brooks both came from backgrounds in this field before founding the Costa Rica based festival in 2011. Both Wu and Brooks worked with The Punta Mona Center for Regenerative Design & Botanical Studies in the pre-Envision years, and this relationship still shapes the festival to this day. Punta Loma is a sprawling, multi-acre food forest and education center which offers classes in Permaculture, Herbalism, Yoga and more, year-round. Given their proximity to each other and shared roots, its only natural that these two entities team up to offer Permaculture-savvy festival goers a chance to learn about practical food system design while exploring a variety of sustainable practices learned directly in the field.
Both the festival grounds and Punta Mona are now located in the small coastal village of Uvita, thanks to a long-term contract with the landowners that lets Envision install more permanent infrastructure and to improve upon the land year after year. This year-round occupancy is something that is unique to the festival, and it lends itself to well to the goals of land-stewardship and sustainable design. Unlike most festivals which are hastily erected and torn down within a matter of weeks, Envision has the ability to nurture the land the festival takes place on for the 11 months between each installation, using permaculture principles to swathe the landscape with edible and medicinal plants. This makes gives Envision one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful and unique settings for a festival you’ll ever encounter. In a world where ecosystems are being destroyed at astounding rates as factory farms spread in developing countries, Envision hopes to educate and inspire leaders to instead implement sustainable food systems in their communities. The festival grounds themselves serve as a tangible reminder of this goal:
“We have built permanent and semi-permanent structures and infrastructure, with roads, water, power, and even internet in the jungle. We’ve build yoga studios that will last up to 9 years. One of the cooler things is the quantity of planting we’ve been doing on-site since 2014. When we got it, it was a cow pasture that had been cleared so that they could sell cattle and meat. As we moved in, we started with fruit trees and as time went by we knew we were gonna stay there. We knew that with camping we needed a way to provide shade, and in 2014 people camped in a raw cow pasture. Now, there’s a good chance you’ll be camping under a banana plant, beach almond, breadfruit or ceiba tree. We have effectively transformed this land from a cow pasture into a tropical tree jungle.”
-Envision Co-Founder Matt Siegel
For more information on Envision Festival please visit their
Written By Uriah Beauchamp
Photos By Madi Lawton