Farming in Costa Rica has evolved a ton in recent years; mostly due to global warming and long term climate change. Disease and new fungi that lived in the low lands are now coming to the high altitude communities. Because of this new climate, farmers are now unsure what their crop yield will be in the year. We were told today that because of the unpredictable weather, the harvest lasts longer for the farmers. This means that they have to hire labor for longer and have greater costs associated with harvests than in past years.
The lives of these farmers are continuously changing in order to match this climate change and do their best to be self sustaining. By capturing the rain water to use to water crops later in the year, using different components of the coffee harvest in their fertilizer, and using animal waste in their fertilizer, they can create helpful commodities for their land and farm.
At Life Monteverde, they like to see biodiversity. This means that introducing many different microorganisms to the soil and landscape can improve the overall crop health and longevity of the soil.
The engineering aspects of these farms never ceases to amaze me. Typically, I’ve observed very rudimentary powering and processing methods for the coffee. The simplicity of their operations is novel, but holding them back. We were asked what we thought about their method to capture methane from their pig waste tank. This was able to be easily improved with the addition of another hanging bag. Simple additions like this across the farm will have vast impacts for not only the owners, but also the community. Creating a sustainable farm is hard, but they have done an excellent job at being self sustaining. Technology powered by electricity isn’t necessary in all situations. These farms have done a great job in the past and present by using simple methods without electricity. More improvements across the land will make all the difference.