One of the key aspects of the lifestyle in Monteverde is conservation. Life Monteverde, the coffee farm we visited today, is no exception to this. Our tour focused on sustainability, including conservation of nature and its relation to the community and employees. The majority of the tour focused on the conservation of nature. We saw and discussed the biodiversity of the forest on the property, and its importance in relation to the coffee plants health. Another major topic of discussion in relation to nature conservation was chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers. Life on a farm in Monteverde is constantly about maintaining a balance between avoiding these dangerous products that put the biodiversity at risk, but still producing a plentiful and quality harvest.
Maintaining and improving upon the organic nature of the farm costs much more than a traditional farm that uses chemical products on their plants. To ensure a profit, the farm has invested in education on sustainability, which includes day tours as well as extended stays with various workshops. By investing more time into these programs, the farm hopes to use the profits to decrease their footprint on nature even more. It also provides an amazing opportunity to really educate people on how important and simple sustainable efforts can be. At this farm such efforts include a biodigester that makes methane gas for the kitchen, a large garden to grow their own food, and composting as much as possible to fertilize the farm. All of these sustainable mechanisms are relatively simple in their design and execution, which really opened my eyes to how I can be more sustainable in my own everyday life. Plus, these initiatives sustain community of employees from Nicaragua who arrive in Costa Rica with next to nothing. With the help of the farm, the Nicaraguans can earn decent wages but do not have to worry about the expenses of healthcares, shelter, or food.
As a whole, farmers in Monteverde are constantly challenged by the goals they have set for themselves to reduce their mark on our planet. While it can be difficult at times, since they now must rely on both tourism and their crops to survive economically, their efforts are clearly paying off. Tourism is on the rise in Monteverde, which excites the farmers becuase they can invest even more back into the planet and create a great model for a sustainable lifestyle and community.