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Sustainable Agriculture in Costa Rica - Lingyan Dong: ERM Major, Environmental Option

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Posted: September 5, 2013

Costa Rica – The country surrounded by Green.

Costa Rica is small green country with only a 4.3 million population. I went to Costa Rica this Spring Break with my ERM499A classmates. That was my first time to a tropical country, I enjoyed the nice weather, fresh air, passionate people and coffee there. Also I enjoyed my 9 days surrounded by greenery. Everything there was so wonderful.

We spend 5 days at EARTH University. Everything is so peaceful and sustainable. The food we ate, the water we used, the juice we drink were all from the University. They produce their own meat, own vegetable and fruit.  Within our trip, three experiences stand out in particular; the trip to the banana production plant, the peri-urban agricultural module, and the sustainable agriculture farm located on EARTH’s campus. In the sustainable agriculture research area we learned about different ways of growing crops sustainably. DongCR2.pngWe also were shown ways to grow crops in recycled items that were available or with items they had.  These items could be golf carts, pop bottles, tire rims, etc.  By reducing waste going to landfills, practices like these would greatly help the environment.

We also went to their farms. The farming facility was the most sustainable section of EARTH. It was almost a totally closed system. The farmers there did import material for artificial breeding to prevent inbreeding. The cows and pigs raised on the farm ate vegetable scraps from the cafeteria at EARTH and then the animals were in turn sold to the cafeteria for student consumption. The methane produced from the pigs is captured in a bio-digester, and in turn provides electricity for the farm. The raw sewage not digested is ejected into a treatment wetland; therefore the water is purified through natural processes and discharged into the aquifer to be re-used.

Overall, EARTH University showed us a very high level of sustainability, including and especially agricultural sustainability. Now the challenge of spreading the ways of sustainable agriculture can commence because we now all have a better understanding.