Tracing the Terraces of Monteverde

Life as a Tico farmer seemed very busy. Specifically at the Monteverde farm, Don Guillermo had animals to care for as well as crops. The animals required constant feeding and checks on their health and milking or shearing for goats and sheep respectively. The coffee crops which are grown organically need to have weeds removed, natural herbicides sprayed, and compost scattered around the plants. Before the compost could be scattered and the herbicide sprayed, both had to be made through long processes of decomposition and fermentation. Along with normal care for crops and animals, Tico farmers also have to manage figures such as crop yield to ensure enough crop is
made to be sold on the market. To ensure the expected crop yield, Tico farmers will likely need to hire outside workers to help maintain the farm. In addition, Tico farmers must create safeguards to make the farm economically sustainable where there is reproducibility of the crop yield every season.

Tico farmers must create these safeguards to protect the health of the plants. There are many additional challenges faced by the Tico farmers other than those experienced on the day-to-day routine. As a result of climate change there is
less water available to the crops in the dry season. Streams which once flowed for many months, now only for a few months. Tico farmers can anticipate the general decline of water resources and install a irrigation system to water the plants in the future. Also, as a result of the changing climate, the air in the mountains is more humid which promotes the spread of diseases. To protect the plants, Tico farmers can experiment with disease-resistant hybrid plants (this requires the consultation of biologists). Furthermore, Tico farmers must also protect the plants from invasive insects. Farmers can plant other crops which would distract the insects from eating the main crop. Oftentimes, these plants are multi-purposed providing the crops with shade or even fixing nitrogen into the ground to make healthier soil.

With so many challenges farming in the mountains a Tico farmer must have certain qualities. If I was the child of a Tico farmer I cannot be completely certain as to where my preferences in occupation would lie, but I know the personality you must have after meeting Don Guillermo. I would be interested in keeping the family tradition alive: I would most likely be proud to have a family business and the opportunity to carry it on. I would be interested in the environment in Costa Rica and preserving its natural state through expanding the farm’s sustainable practices. And perhaps the most important quality, I would be extremely enthusiastic about teaching other people from all over the world about the Monteverde farm and why it is important to be more sustainable.

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