Before digging into regenerative agriculture and sustainability, Justin Dolan was a hotel manager
and public servant leading a pretty normal life in the United States of America. Life was
comfortable and peaceful until catastrophic injury struck. Justin spent two years in wheelchairs
rolling in and out of over 40 surgeries and medical procedures, His injuries cost him his career,
independence, and home. To make matters worse, his lawyer, stole his insurance money set
aside to pay for medical expenses.
With inspiration from nature, books, and his friend Rob Greenfield, a sustainability activist, he
decided to make an effort to live the life of a producer not a consumer. Dolan sold off everything
he owned to purchase the property next to his homestead. It was planned to become a ball golf
course community. It became The Saint Michael’s Sustainable Community and Permaculture
Country Club of Costa Rica. Because of Justin’s prohibition of GMOs and commercial
agrochemicals, an opportunity loomed to use better natural alternative solutions. The solutions
were based on sustainability. Those prohibitions led the community to adopt better practices that
saves money, protects the environment, and produces healthy living soil filled with effective
Justin Dolan Studied Law at John Marshall Law School, Hotel Administration at Cornell
University, and Communications at Valdosta State University also he was also on the football
and National Championship Debate team at VSU. He earned his Certified Hotel Administrator
(CHA) certification in 1994. Justin also continued learning at Universidad Nacional Costa Rica
(UNA). He completed “ Curso de Ganaderia Organica: Medicina veterinaria biológica: una
alternativa viable y sostenible”. Dolan also attended UNA for “Plantas Medicinales” (Módulos
Uno y Dos) and “Plantas Medicinales en Instituciones de Salud Moderna en Forma Integrada”.
Ing. Jario Restrepo Rivera taught Justin the “ABCs of Agriculture Organica”. He also studied the
use and conservation of medicinal plants under famed ethnobotanist snd UNA professor Rafael
Ocampo and others. Many sustainability professionals have come to share experiences and
knowledge at St. Michael’s. Even, A NASA scientist working on growing food in space spent a
month working with Justin at St. Michael’s.
Dolan was a General Manager and Construction Manager for Day Hospitality Group formerly
Hotel Equites Group from 1991 to 1999. At 24 years old Justin Dolan as one of the youngest
Certified Hotel Administrators, He managed multi million dollar renovation and reflagging
hotels to the Marriott Brand. Then he chose service to the community as a peace officer over the
Dolan graduated the Police academy with the Highest GPA Student Award class 99-7 on 23
April1999 and Top Gun award. In he was awarded the 1999 Officer of the year for the Motor
Division Fulton County Sheriffs Office. In 2002 Promoted to Police Detective. In 2004, Dolan
was chosen as the Emerald of the Year, by the Metro Atlanta Police Emerald Society. In 2005,
Dolan was named as the Public Service Officer of the Year. In 2006 Legion of Honor Award
was given to Dolan.
As a peace officer and investigator, he has pulled two people out of in apartment fire, pulled a
dying elderly man from a vehicle engulfed in flames, been shot, saved the life of a person trying
to commit suicide by cop, Saved a person that was being thrown off a bridge, and was ultimately
dragged by a car driven at high speed down I 75/85 by an while in foot pursuit of an escaping
criminal. He was catastrophically injured causing serve permanent damage after being struck.
He was not expected to survive. In the first 24 hours he lost all of his blood five times on his first
night in intensive care and surgeries. He was put into a coma for three weeks and was put
together with external fixators while on a ventilator and life support. Learning of the efforts to
sustain his life, he made a decision to never give up and to be grateful for what he had even
though he lost his career and his home in foreclosure.
For two years, Dolan lived in the hospitals or a handicap accessible room at the hotel next to the
hospital. Those years were filled with many reconstructive surgeries, radiation treatments,
physical therapy, and recovery. Mr Dolan has over 7 feet of scars from surgeries. Most have
been opened 4 or more times. During his recovery until leaving for Costa Rica, Dolan was an
advocate and councilor for the homeless at the Atlanta Outreach.
In 2009, Justin came to Costa Rica to continue recovering and build a new life. He designed and
built the Saint Michael’s Sustainable Community and the Permaculture Country Club He lives in
the community to this day with his wife and six children, three of them are foster children that
have been part of the family since 2016.