Question: What is Life Monteverde Answer: It’s a coffee plantation

And an amazing one at that!

Our community service in Monteverde brought us to Life Monteverde, an association of 12 families from the area who have come together to create a coffee plantation with a mission to “produce, protect and educate contributing to perpetuate life on earth”. Blyth Academy has partnered with the farm and so each year all of the Blyth Academy students who travel to Costa Rica have the opportunity to participate in educational activities, tour and then later work on the farm. In the process, they earn community service hours and learn about sustainable agriculture and the work that is being done here at Life Monteverde.

Our visit began by gathering in the on-site classroom where we were greeted by Daniel and introduced to the ideas of conservation, organic agriculture and low environmental impact energy systems. The students then quickly divided into groups, were given a topic and sent out to explore the farm and talk to the workers. Then it was back to the classroom where students first created and then shared their learning. This was experiential learning in action!

Next up was a tour of the farm followed by a delicious lunch prepared at the farm. The highlight of the tour for many was the visit to the barn where everyone (except Kathy) held baby chicks. We met the goats, pigs and chickens and learned first-hand where all of that “natural fertilizer” comes from.

After lunch it was time to get our hands dirty, mixing compost, hauling water and dirt, digging holes and generally doing some of the tasks that are required on an organic farm without machinery. I was very impressed with how hard our students worked. Maggie and Stephen demonstrated their talent wielding shovels, Cidel was small but mighty with the wheelbarrow, Isabela and Becca poured the mulch in the holes, the list goes on…

The grand finale of the day was coffee tasting. Who knew there were so many processes and roasts available for coffee making? It’s not just light, medium and dark any more.

All in all, this experience was not only a lot of fun and a way to earn community service hours. It was a great opportunity to see sustainable agriculture up close and personal. The next time we head out to buy coffee we will all know which questions to ask. Sometimes it’s kinder to our planet to pay a little more for our coffee.

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