I’ve been back home for just over three weeks, yet it seems ages ago that we were basking in the beauty of Costa Rica. I’ve been looking through my pictures taken on the trip in preparation for writing our final trip report. As I glance at the photos, I can’t help but smile at the the thought of the wonderful people we met. They were so welcoming, so glad we were there, and open to our thoughts and ideas to improve their farms.

My contribution to the program included a presentation on successful farm market booths. We discussed item placement, signage, and improving customer service. The group made significant changes after just one presentation, so I hopeful and curious as to what addition changes have been made and if they feel it was worthwhile. Hopefully, the October group will follow up a bit more and have lots of improvements to report.

Changes for me after this trip include a better understand and more of a need to understand the organic movement and the public’s desire for information. Coming from an area strong in monocultures of corn and soybeans, I have hesitated to become more involved in organic production techniques and theories. My time in Costa Rica helped me realize that it isn’t all about corn and soybeans and that I need to get up-to-date on alternative methods and techniques. In fact, I have already attended a cover crops workshop and have indicated an interest in joining our Extension small farms team.

Finally, I so enjoyed learning about life in Costa Rica and the more relaxed way of living. My experiences have increased my awareness of the importance of sharing other cultures with my children. They too live in a very monoculture society, and I recognize now more than ever the importance of sharing with them that life isn’t just corn and soybeans. I’ve done some quick looking on family mission trips to help expose them to more and hopeful allow them to develop a deeper appreciation of what they have. I also have in the back of my mind to shut off the satellite tv. I’m not sure we could go cold turkey (any of us), but it does sound inviting to have less interuptions and to encourage their growth with less screen time. I’ll have to keep you updated on that one.