It’s 10 am on a Tuesday in the Tres Brazos jungle, a jagged two-hour trek outside Panama City, where a handful of American twentysomethings have been awake and working since sunrise.
Aaron Prairie leads a group of biology students on a nature hike, using a machete to hack his way through an overgrown trail. Max Cooper cuts long strips of plywood with an electric saw powered by a solar generator, the beginnings of an open-air thatch hut he’ll eventually build by hand.
Jake Cardoza is on his hands and knees in the adjacent permaculture farm, planting a baby banana tree. A few yards away in the kitchen, also fashioned as an open-air thatch hut, Brigitte Desvaux chops onions. Later, she’ll saute them for dinner along with with fresh katuk, a tropical green with a nutty taste, harvested from the farm that morning. By Carly Schwartz. Read more.