Today we had the opportunity to visit Life Monteverde. It is a family run farm that is smaller than the previous cooperate scale plantations we have seen. Life is an acronym that stands for “low impact for earth” which is something that this family strives to promote in every way they are able.
We were led on a tour of the farm by Don Guillermo who is a proud member of the family. Don Guillermo and his families lives consist of researching new ways to develop the farm and further their sustainability efforts. Two of his sons take part in these efforts as one is an engineer who works on processing, and the other is in charge of research. They have a laid back lifestyle, and a great appreciation of nature which was not seen as much in the other plantations. The workers at Life Monteverde find joy in the appreciation of nature and preservation of the environment. They take pride in their work, and it was clearly shown through the amount of effort they put into conservation. They hired interns to execute projects that would further environmental sustainability such as a bike powered machine that cuts up leaves to feed their animals.
The challenges that Life Monteverde faces are similar to that of other planation’s in Costa Rica. A major challenge is presented as tourism becomes more and more popular. Portions of farms are being converted into ecotourism locations as adventure sports like ziplines and canopy tours are being added. Even our hotel used to be a dairy pasture, but today it is a popular tourist location. This is because there is more money in tourism. Children of famers are increasingly becoming less interested in taking over the traditional family business, and more interested in changing it. The location also presents a challenge as it is difficult to Transport products. The road to reach Monteverde is only open two times a day which allows for only a small window of time to move products from one location to another.
I didn’t think about this much prior to today, but engineering and technology play an important role in creating a sustainable farm. In order to fabricate sustainable practices, new technology is necessary to improve all processes. It is important for environmental sustainability to research ways to use all parts of the coffee bean, and ways to eliminate waste. Given the environmental engineering that Life Monteverde uses they are able to reuse parts of the bean to create compost, paper, and fuel. They also use engineering to find new ways to discard waste such as their biodigester that was another internship project they constructed. Overall, Life Monteverde is a remarkable company with an extraordinary focus on sustainability.