In getting to explore another batch of coffee crops, today’s tour ended up being all about craftsmanship. While the two full-on crops that we have seen so far were both quick to emphasize the quality of their beans, today’s tour took the idea of dedication to a new level. In accordance with the previous day’s lecture, sustainability was of the utmost importance to Life Monteverde. As much as taste/quality were still highly valued by Don Guillermo, he set his crop apart through initiatives like the avoidance of pesticides, the utilization of homemade compost, and only using herbicides when it is absolutely necessary.
One thing that was surprising about Don Guillermo’s approach is that while he was interested in getting his beans to be organic-certified, this was very low on his list of priorities. This is partly because of the fact that “organic” can often be a meaningless term, especially when “30%” of all organic-certified products are dishonest. As such. rather than striving for a performative label, Don Guillermo actually cared about practices that really improved the direct effect that his product has on the environment and, thus, the feeling that the consumer experiences when they buy his beans.
It was very apparent that Don Guillermo was also somebody who lives with nature and the land, rather than merely respecting it. He frequently advocated for living a simple lifestyle, all the while maintaining adorable friendships between himself, his dog, his goats, and his tree. His particular role means that he does a lot of traveling (I believe he mentioned that he got to visit 17 different countries for business purposes) and supervising, which presumably requires a lot of around-the-clock work. Much like Doka, most of his harvest workers are Nicaraguans, much like the one I got to talk to during our break-out assignment. He clearly derived a lot of pride and joy from his practices and the relationship that he had with the surrounding environment.
It’s hard to say that I would want to be a Tico farmer myself. as it would require that I sacrifice a lot of things that I am, to some extent, dependent on in order to not be stressed. So, while I cannot perfectly empathize with that level of dedication, I feel like most (if not every) person does want to find a job that fulfills them. I doubt that coffee growing is the only simple and honest profession with which one can achieve this dream, so I like to think that there would still be many options. This means that, even in my real life, I can strive for this kind of attitude, as hopefully, I can find a comparable line of work with my (eventual) degree. ¡Eso es porque estoy trabajando tan duramente en mis clases!