Well the three Purdue Ag Extension Educators have come and gone from Costa Rica and in most projects that would mean that the messages that they brought have gone in one ear and out the other.  Guess what?  That isn’t the case in this project.  The APOT farmers have been so motivated and charged by the experience and knowledge of Scott, Ed, and JW that they are now starting to take some new initiatives.

First they went to the mayor of Turrialba to ask to be allowed to sell their organic produce in the conventional farmer’s market.  This is a much larger market and brings in many more clients.  They were allowed to start selling this week since their product is different from the other products.  They will be the only sellers of organic produce in the market.  They will have the ability to start teaching hundreds of people about the virtues of eating healthy foods produced without the use of chemical inputs and protection of soil and water.  It will give the Turrialba population a chance to try something new and start to demand other farmers to think more carefully about the pesticides that they use.

Second, tomorrow I will be bringing at least 15 APOT farmers and consumers from the farmer’s market to visit Alvaro in Tierra Blanca near Cartago.  He produces a bulk of the organic vegetable produce that is sold in Turrialba.  The hope is that the APOT farmers will learn from him on how to better manage their soils, rotate their crops, utilize local varieties, and better understand organic farming.  I am sure we will have a wonderful time, albeit without the great guys from Southern Indiana!

So, all in all, the first Farmer to Farmer workshop has been a huge success.  The next workshops have huge shoes to fill but knowing the caliber of Ag Extension Educators that Indiana and Purdue have I have a feeling it won’t be too difficult.  Indian and the USA are extremely fortunate to have such capable and dedicated staff that are working for the folks in the rural areas.  Farmers in Costa Rica could only be so lucky.  Thanks for loaning them to us for a few weeks!

–Tamara

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