Touring the farm of Life Monteverde really reminded me of a tropical version of my home. I didn’t live on a farm growing up, but I lived in a small town with plenty of farms and woods around. After hearing Guillermo’s daughter express her view points of the farm before and after moving to a big American city, I was able to see a lot of both similarities and differences compared to my life. She discussed how it wasn’t until she moved away that she learned to appreciate her home and the people there so much more than she ever did before. That’s something that I feel like I related to the first time I came home after living in Pittsburgh for a while. However, she also talked about the passion of the people and how she will make any sacrifice in order to keep the farm in her family, which is where I saw differences.
Listening to all of farmers within Monteverde talk over the last few days, I have begun to notice the extreme pride that they have for their land and accomplishments. The workers at Life Monteverde seem to be so passionate about their jobs and so dedicated to preserving the environment. They find multiple uses for everything they do so that nothing goes to waste. Going through the processes on the farm, I noticed that there seemed to be more drawbacks to growing coffee at that location rather than in a more suitable environment. After asking our guide about it, he told us that he agrees that it would be a lot easier in other places, but he elaborated that he believes that they continue their coffee farming more for personal values. With that being said, the people on this farm aren’t necessarily focused on the physical production aspect, but rather more focused on obtaining knowledge and values about this world and our lives. Again, it’s more of a quality over quantity mindset.
Since all the farms in Monteverde are located on the mountains on the Continental Divide, the weather is extremely unpredictable and a lot less friendly to farming. Thus, with global warming steadily increasing, crop yield continues to decrease and the farming itself becomes more challenging. Due to this reason, many of the Monteverde farmers are switching over to tourism. This provides both benefits and drawbacks to the remaining farmers in this region. It’s good because it provides the capability for the farmers to educate local and foreign tourists about the environment, and provides them business. But it’s also taking away from the region because many of the tourist activities focus on either money or adventure sports. This means that the people coming in do not get to see the full value of Monteverde and they cannot appreciate nature and wildlife the way they should. The remaining farmers in Monteverde must somehow manage to constantly make the benefits of tourism outweigh the drawbacks. Meanwhile, they also have to adapt to the adjusting climate as well.
It seems to me that the Tico farmers of Monteverde find happiness in nature. Fully appreciating this beautiful earth seems to be their top priority. Even with the livestock, they treat the animals much more civilly and with much more care than those on big farms in the United States. If I were in their shoes, I honestly would not make any major changes. I really liked the tour and how they had it so that visitors can see all the processes without disturbing the environment at all. They also had it so that they were pointing out other things about nature and didn’t just focus on the coffee growing, which also made it more interesting. They provided delicious homemade food which definitely appealed to hungry teenagers. The only thing that I would have changed would be to do more service. I was expecting to spend the entire time helping out around the farm, but we only planted ten trees altogether. I still enjoyed the visit, I just would have like to do more for the farm.