It was a pleasure to meet several members of APOT today–and their families and “fincas (farms).” It was refreshing to see how passionate this small group of organic farmers are about sustaining their organization–and their way of life–via sustainable agriculture. Costa Rica is indeed muy “rica (rich)” with resources–both natural and human. Our job here is to facilitate discussions among the APOT members that help them maximize their potential to profit from both the human resources (in the form of talented staff and associates) and natural resources (in the form of the agricultural products they produce). Tomorrow, at a meeting for all of APOT’s roughly 40 associate members, we will discuss how they can share both the burden of the workload and the benefits of the prosperity. 

Up until this time, some APOT members have been keeping the organization afloat (as volunteers) because they believe in its mission. One of those unsung heroes of APOT is certainly Floria, the Farmer’s Market coordinator. Ella es muy trabajadora (She’s very hardworking) y ella es una buena cocinera (and she’s a great cook!). We were fortunate enough to spend time at her “finca (farm),” where we enjoyed homemade queso de cabra (goat cheese), tortillas, and pan de pasas y chocolate (chocolate raisin bread). Her husband, Edgar, gave us a tour of their “finca integral,” essentially a self-contained farm that re-uses all its own waste products to create fertilizer and biofuel for its own operations. It was fascinating to see. Just this week, with the proceeds from his coffee sales, Don Edgar purchased a natural pesticide tank from one of the graduate agriculture students at CATIE. The tanks sprays envioronmentally friendly chemicals mainly on the soil, and produces a “vaccine-like” effect, in which the earth produces resistance to certain pests. This whole idea of “vaccinating” earth was a new concept for me. Genial! (In Costa Rican Spanish, that means, “cool!”). Hope you enjoy these photos from the Flori & Edgar’s finca!