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The Ulloas: Vida Raiz Mission, Costa Rica

Marco & Talitha Ulloa
Location Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica
Position Missionaries
Project Vida Raiz
Website http://www.vidaraiz.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/vida.raiz
Email ulloacostarica@gmail.com
Team Member ID 42145


How The Ulloas got started

We became aware of the issues that surround food several years ago when I discovered that my decade long battle with migraines disappeared when I began to eat organic, and preservative free.  Due to the high cost of organic products, we decided to grow our own food in the small space outside our condominium.  We took out all of our grass and built 11 raised beds and a chicken coop with two chickens.  We grew more produce than we could eat, so we gave the food away to our friends and neighbors.

The feeling of giving away something that we grew with our own hands was so fulfilling that we couldn’t stop.  It wasn’t until the day that I gave some spinach and Zucchini away to an ill elderly friend that we really understood what a significant impact this had on others.   She grabbed my hand and said, “You have no idea how much this means to me,” as tears rolled down her face.

Soon after, we decided to take some coursework on organic sustainable agriculture to educate ourselves further.  The enormity of health issues related to food and environment were overwhelming.  We also discovered that health is not simply the well being of our physical bodies.  The World Health Organization defines health as, “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

People also need to experience the love of Christ for their spiritual health.  We then created Vida Raiz and dedicated our lives to share the love of Christ in communities in need of spiritual and physical nourishment through the simplicity of growing food and giving it away.

What is Vida Raiz {Life-Root}?

Vida Raiz is a holistic community development project which encourages people to grow their own food in a sustainable, organic way.  We do this by creating community gardens, building in home raised beds, and providing education to those interested in sustainable agriculture.  Vida Raiz works in conjunction with existing Christian ministries to share the love of Christ with those who would not normally step inside a church setting.  We believe that people will come to experience Christ’s love by building authentic relationships, living side by side with the community, and experiencing life together.

Vida Raiz Mission


The purpose of Vida Raiz is to create disciples of Christ (spiritual), to encourage and re-introduce the value of growing food organically (health education), the importance of caring for the earth (sustainably living), to become less reliant on industry (self sufficient), and to develop local leaders to carryon the mission of Christ (leadership development).

Spread the love of Christ through giving away food!

We started our first project in Costa Rica with a dirt lot full of trash and an idea.  Grow food and give it away.  The lot was donated by the city with the agreement that the space would be used to benefit the community and the local school.  After 30 dump runs and lots of hard work, we created our first community garden.  We are in the tropics, where ants, iguanas, heavy rains, or searing heat can take a crop in no time.  But, we were persistent.  Within a few months we had a large garden space where we grew many types of fruits and vegetables.

Neighbors were skeptical.  “Why are you doing this?”, they would ask.  When we explained our mission to grow food to give away, they thought we were crazy.  They said, “You can’t grow anything here, especially squash.  We are too close to the ocean.”  They were right.  We were about 50 meters from the high tide line, and we had planted a lot of squash.  But, then we had our first harvest.  Those squash plants produced more than we could count.  We filled as many squash as we could in a large rice bag and took a bike around town giving them away.  People were shocked.  “How did you grow such beautiful and tasty squash?”  We did this weekly.  We also began to regularly give food to the school lunch program across the street.

With each squash, pepper, or eggplant, a connection was made.  A connection that wasn’t there before.  That connection invited more conversation and more interest.  Sharing the love of Christ, one squash at a time.  You don’t need an entire lot to grow food.  All you need is some creativity, willingness to learn, and a little space.  We believe that people will come to experience Christ’s love by building authentic relationships, living side by side with the community, and experiencing life together.  We invite you to create church in a vegetable garden.  Invite your neighbors and friends to share in the building, planting, and harvest of your garden.

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