Today, we visited Life Monteverde and learned about the lifestyle of a Tico farmer as well as the daily operations on the farm. At the start of the tour, we split into groups that each focused on finding the answers to different questions regarding Life Monteverde. My group focused on finding out what Life Monteverde does for the community. After talking to workers as well as volunteers on the farm, we learned that Life Monteverde allows students to come to the fields and get real-world work experience. We also learned that a lot of the workers are from Nicaragua, and are paid 3 times as much more in Costa Rica as they would have been there.
Throughout the day, we learned about different sustainable technologies and practices that are utilized at Life Monteverde. We learned that the goats on the farm help with the gardening, and that the employees are able to eat the food that they make. In addition, we were able to see the irrigation system set up on the farm; I was really impressed to learn that Life Monteverde is a part of 55 different farms/farmers that invested in shared irrigation resources, as I think that this is a great way to simultaneously increase productivity and promote sustainability. Another practice that we learned about was the use of herbicide on the farms. Guillermo said that it’s much cheaper to spray it with herbicide a few times a year than it is to have to pay for the necessary labor to cut the weeds every few weeks.
In terms of what makes Tico farmers happy, Don Guillermo reflected on how it takes very little for Tico farmers to feel happy/content. He said that they do not seek luxury/unnecessary expenses, but, rather, focus on doing whatever they need to secure necessities as well as ensure a more sustainable future. It also seems as though Tico farmers are content simply being a part of nature. I found it really interesting when Don Guillermo said ‘we don’t have enemies in nature.’ He reflected on how instead of finding nuisances in aspects of nature, if you truly understand nature, you will understand that everything in it has its own specific purpose. Ultimately, if I were the child of a Tico farmer, I would want to dedicate my life to giving back to the farm, too, as it would have been the center of my life and my main source of resources growing up.