Based off our trip to Café Monteverde, it became quickly evident that the life of the farmers seems simultaneously simple and intricate. While it seems that Don Guillermo’s daily duties are somewhat repetitive, he showed that his job has many obstacles especially since their farm is so small in comparison to the coffee companies we have visited to this point. As a small diversified firm, Café Monteverde must find ways to compete with the much larger coffee growing firms and cover their costs. At the beginning of the tour, Don Guillermo said that the firm’s fixed costs are often hard to cover especially since they make most of their of their revenue in the dry season when their beans are able to be sold as raw materials to firms in the US or to local after they roast the beans.
Selling coffee, or any of the firm’s various products, is by no means what makes the farmers at Café Monteverde happy though. The pride and joy of Don Guillermo’s business became obvious as soon as he began presenting to us: educating and sharing his wisdom with the youth who come visit the remote area to learn about both coffee and sustainability. Their love for education was exemplified when Don Guillermo shared with us his plans to have a lodge built to house students. Throughout our tour of the grounds of the farm, Don Guillermo’s face lit up while talking about all the ways his firm recycles energy and ensures that Earth is well taken care of. He and the other tour guide loved it when we went to the school and helped them create two gardens and paint their playground. This plays into one of his main points in his presentation: conservation involves all living things especially the people who need help.
Another large piece of the tour was centered around the methods the farm takes to implement their sustainability goals. Though the technology may have seemed rudimentary or old, the means Café Monteverde uses to keep their farm as sustainable were actually pretty effective. The Biodigestor allows the firm to generate some of the heat used on the grounds for things like cooking. Also, to chop up the food for the animals, there was a cutter powered by a bike set up next to it. Going hand in hand with that process, the food for the animals was all grown on the farm which reduced the carbon footprint by the firm.