Today, we visited Life Monteverde, a sustainable coffee farm in the mountains of Costa Rica. From this trip, we got to hear about the lifestyle of a Tico farmer, learned about the history of sustainability in Monteverde, and looked at some of the modern farming practices implemented by the company.
Tico farmers, like all farmers, work really hard to take advantage of the land. From the tour I received today, it seems to me that the farmers are very in-touch with their plants and livestock. Our tour guide today was able to look at the coffee plants and determine what changes in conditions they would need to improve the health of the plant. In addition to this, with the growing threat of climate change, farmers are very active in preserving the natural resources of their land. At Life Monteverde, the farmers do a lot to make the farm as sustainable and emission-free as possible.
One of the biggest issues today that farmers face is climate change. Climate change effects nearly every aspect of the coffee production process. With warmer weather, the time for coffee harvest is lengthened, lengthening the need for labor at the farm. Climate change also improves the conditions for diseases that effect coffee plants, making them spread easier. Though it is a huge problem, it is one that Tico farmers are more than willing to try to overcome. In fact, Don Guillermo spoke very passionately about the sustainable practices that are implemented at the farm, and it seemed to make him genuinely happy. He said that he wants to be able to look into his children’ eyes one day and say that he did a good job preserving the Earth’s natural resources. I think that Tico farmers ultimately want to do good for the environment in addition to making good coffee. I think it is really impressive that Ticos pick up the responsibility of being sustainable when this responsibility is so often neglected in the U.S.
Technology is at the core of a sustainable farm. I thought it was very interesting that a lot of the farm workers had engineering degrees themselves. It takes a lot of knowledge on the Earth and biological processes to make the farm environmentally friendly. I thought it was very interesting how they used the manure from their animals to create fertilizer for the coffee plants. They grow food for their animals, which produce waste that works as fertilizer to grow more food for them as well as for the crops. In order to process the pig waste to make it usable as fertilizer, there was a special process used where the farmers harvested the methane gas to be used to cook. I thought it was really interesting to see how the farm was engineered to use almost every waste product in the process of growing coffee. Overall, the process is nearly completely waste free.
I cannot wait to see more about how technology and sustainability impact the society of Costa Rica!¡Pura Vida!