Report from an AgroEcologist on the Road

posted February 10, 2009

have you ever been really happy to smell something not that pleasant??’

to me, the smell of burning trash as i walk down the rocky roads of agua buena road1brings back such good memories. it´s not a pleasant smell in and of itself, but for me, the context is golden. for it´s here that the world became much bigger to me. partly from learning spanish, but also from turning ´the rainforest´ from an idea in my mind to what it is actually here in the tropics. here, it´s people making a living off the land. often in much smaller houses and with a lot less money than we´re used to. some are interested in the subjects of ´sustainability´, some are not, but all want pretty much to raise their children in a healthy environment.

it´s so good to be back. i go for walks, seeing houses i remember…ah, there we made tamales…ah, there i went to a baptism…ah, there was where we made organic fungicide…ah, there´s where that horse was grazing on a full moon, and there´s where i went to sit the day before turning 21 to think about life, the universe, what is sustainability, and vegetarianism.

anyway, i wanted to just say hello. my days have been good. i play a new harmonica a lot, and it sounds good to me. not sure about how others feel about it. with only 9 days in this town i love, i´m trying to do a lot but with the knowledge that not trying to do too much is probably the best way to go. it´s great to connect with the new interns, who all have really interesting projects going on. i just came from one of them. it´s a medicinal plants garden in front of the new coffee processing plant….it´s a nice one, it´s smaller and more ecological, not needing the immense amounts of water, electricity, and firewood of the enormous one i got a tour of 5 years ago. that one sits abandoned, with horses grazing around it. .this smaller one was constructed with financing through CAN, ( which is the organization with which i came down here for the first time. it´sgroundhog day, and tomorrow is nazareth´s 5th birthday. i think we´re celebrating with pizza tonight. she was 2 months old when i came, and her little sisters….well, they didn´t quite exist yet. hmm.

that´s still crazy to me, even though i know that´s how the world works.

um, what else? my time on the caribbean was wonderful too. i love body surfing, and birding, and seeing people i have missed, like pthe family who i stayed with when counting migrating birds in 2006. so that´s what i did, and also some great hikes.

people ask me a lot what´s next, what´s next? i still have to say, i´m not sure. i´ve got an interview with Hidden Villa (in mountain view, CA) this afternoon, por telefono. wish me luck. that would be a year position. but lots of people have applied. so we´ll see. i can´t imagine regretting any decision that respects my pasion for a food system that respects farmers and the earth. so in whatever capacity, that´s what i´ll be working towards in 2009.