While visiting Life Monteverde today, I learned about the life of a Tico farmer, Guillermo. He took us on a tour of his family owned farm and taught us about the many different aspects of it. He explained to us that there is much more to his business than growing coffee. They not only pick, process, and brew their own coffee, but give tours of their plantation and partner with different colleges throughout the United States and Canada to research sustainability and conservation efforts. It was clear that Guillermo loves his job, and this seems to be true about every coffee plantation owner in Costa Rica. They are extremely passionate about what they do which makes this experience so much more meaningful to me.
Guillermo gives tours and talks as his main day to day job, but he seems to be involved and knowledgeable about every aspect of his farm. His efforts towards sustainability were incredible because none of the resources he uses go to waste. For example, the waste from his pigs and goats is used as fertilizer for his plants along with the pulp of the coffee bean; he also takes the methane from the pig waste and runs it through a pipe which they use for cooking. He explained the harmful effects of methane on the environment and how if you burn the methane it separates into water and carbon dioxide which can be used by the plants. The amount of research and effort that these farmers put into their conservation efforts is unbelievable. Guillermo is an engineer, so he is able to develop these homemade contraptions to better his farm with little technology. It makes me wonder what we in the United States can do to preserve the environment like the Costa Rican farmers.
While talking with Guillermo, he explained to us that his favorite part about his job is getting to show tourists like us what they do. He loves the exchange of knowledge that occurs through the interactions he has with people from all over the world. He even asked our group at the end of the tour what he can do to make his plantation better. These farmers are constantly changing their processes as the market and the environment are changing too. Farmers like Guillermo in particular have inspired me to take a step back and think about what type of print I am leaving on the world around me. I need to be more conscious of not only the environment but myself and my values as well. While in the woods, he had us sit on a platform in the trees and meditate. He told us to think about the particular moments that have made us the way we are today which was very inspirational as he told us some stories about his own experiences. His values are what drive him, and I think that in life we get so caught up in the moment that sometimes we need to think like Guillermo and remember what is most important to us.