Today we visited Life Monteverde, a sustainable coffee farm with some very interesting methods and ways of creating low-impact farm. The life of a Tico farmer is very interesting and complex. They are constantly having to change and adapt their ways of farming to cope with unexpected changed in the world around them. Engineering and technology play a far greater role than what I originally thought. For the first time on this trip, engineering was directly addressed and used as a way to increase the productivity and sustainability of the farm.
Don Guillermo, the Tico farmer we met today, has a very different life than what we are used to. His life revolves around trying to get max production from his coffee farm in an environmentally sustainable way. His typical days is filled with maintaining his fields, monitoring fertilizers and water, leading tours, or doing other things around his farm. There are an overwhelming amount of challenges he faces while running his farm. Here are some of the challenges: dealing with coffee destroying fungus, adapting to climate change in the area, finding ways to reduce and eventually eliminate emissions, dealing with the cooler climate in Monteverde, and finding cheap and effective substitutes to expensive and green house emitting synthetic fertilizers. Those are only some of his problems. He uses interesting combinations of science, engineering, and farming to tackle and solve these challenges. While talking to Don Guillermo, it seems that the interest of younger generations and respect for Costa Rica’s environment is what makes him happy. He seems to be very passionate about what he does and from that passion comes a noticeable enjoyment from the work he does.
The role of technology and engineering was very interesting to observe and investigate on the farm. One the farm we saw use of methane extraction, forestry engineering, chemical analysis of soil and fertilizer, along with many others. On the farm, it seems that technology and engineering dictate the growing of the coffee, the sustainability of the farm, and managing the future of the farm. Seeing how important the role of engineering on a farm was very interesting and inspiring for me personally. By using engineering and technology, these farmers are becoming increasingly sustainable and able to cope with an ever-changing environment. Being able to see how every part of the farm was planned, managed, and used with engineering insight and technological improvements was incredibly interesting, especially in a coffee farm in the mountains of Costa Rica. It goes to show how far engineering can reach and the good it can help accomplish. By using engineering and technology, a path is being paved towards sustainable methods of farming.