Don Guillermo, a farmer from the Costa Rican mountains, lives a lifestyle vastly different from my own. His family’s work is tangible, from the roots of budding coffee plants to the buildings that teach lessons on sustainability. His message is clear. We must protect our natural resources for thee future. The acronym they use, LIFE (Low Impact For Earth), also demonstrates their desire to live on the Earth without ruining it for the future wellbeing of both humans and nature.
At first their work seemed tedious, planting seeds, watching them grow, moving the plants, pruning the branches, picking the fruit, producing the beans, and so on. But as the guides went into more depth, it was clear that this was not a job to them, but a mission. They’re constantly working to make the process more eco friendly, more efficient and better tasting. When encountering a problem, like the workers (Nicaraguans) needing inexpensive food, the farmers had a choice to make. It would be easy to make it the problem of the workers to find a solution, but the farmers know sustainability extends to the workers just as much as the Earth. By planting a plentiful garden, the land can create food for the workers while also adding to the biodiversity of the area and the life of the community.
Happiness is just as plentiful on the farm as plants. The farmers were so excited to get to share their lives with us. Sharing the details of experimenting with new coffee plants and creating inventive methods to do basic farm work was clearly a source of joy for the farmers. When telling us about the engineering methods used to reuse methane gas as a renewable energy source and cutting food for goats using a pulley system, their faces showed the pride in their achievement. They know they have done a good job, but are always searching to be more sustainable.