Today, we were fortunate enough to visit Life Monteverde. Life Monteverde is a small family owned coffee bean plantation, with many other crops such as potatoes, basil, corn, tomatoes, and lettuce, as well as livestock. This farm is unlike any other, as Life (in Life Monteverde) actually stands for Low Impact For Earth. The main goal of the plantation is to make all of their processes 100% sustainable. Don Guillermo, the son of the founder, was our guest speaker and tour guide today. He lectures us on the history of Life Monteverde, what it means to be a Tico farmer, and how his life is influenced by his work.
Don Guillermo grew up on the land in a very small home, with two parents, and ten siblings. He began with hands-on farm work at a very young age. He cares for the livestock, tends to the crops and manages all of the sustainable systems. In other words, he lives for sustainability. Don Guillermo expressed that running a family business can be extremely difficult because not all 12 board members are always going to agree, and being related makes reaching a compromise even more difficult. Additionally, he expressed some concern when speaking of his children’s career paths. He has three daughters all pursuing their own career paths, but he has faith in the fact that they will eventually return to their roots in costa rica and pursue their specific interests throughout the family business, as there are many positions to be filled in order to achieve growth. Aside from his daughters, he mentioned that some of his nephews are pursuing careers, such as environmental engineering and sustainable tourism that may directly influence the success of Life Monteverde. Don Guillermo expressed that when tourists and students come to visit and learn the sustainable processes he has enforced, he is very pleased because he knows that he is making a difference. He is always excited when people share new ideas for creating a healthy farming environment. Some of the innovative engineering tools that Guillermo has utilized has been the Biodigestor transporting methane gas to the kitchen, and the plant grinder that functions by human power through a bicycle.
Don Guillermo welcomed us and opened our eyes to a new lifestyle. In the United States often times we do not pay attention to the little things like where our common waste goes, how we deal with the methane gas that we release by our consumption of livestock products, or even what harmful chemicals we have introduced to the environment simply to receive products we consume everyday. Today we drank his coffee, and ate his organic food, and I could not have been more grateful. He shared some important lessons with us that I can take into the future whether it be personally or through business. He showed us how to appreciate nature by closing our eyes and sitting in silence for only a minute. He also made it very clear to us how important it is to maintain basic trust among buyers and sellers in business transactions.