One of the great things about studying at EARTH University was the experiential aspect of the classes. Not only were we able to participate in work experience on Wednesdays, but we were also able to take many field trips to see the tenets of sustainable development in practice. Here is a list and description of some of the places were were able to travel during our time at EARTH (and pictures too!).
Corsicana Organic Pineapple Farm:
During the sustainable agriculture week, we visited Finca Corsicana to learn about organic pineapple production. Team Pina (our class was split into two groups for a project) was tasked with comparing the organic plantation with a traditional commercial one. Aside from school work, we were able to eat pineapple straight from the field during the tour, and upon our return from the tour were offered the best Pina Coladas I have ever tasted in my life. It was especially cool to visit this farm with our professor because he owns his own organic pineapple farm and was very knowledgeable on the subject.
EARTH Sustainable Banana Plantation:
EARTH University has its own sustainable banana plantation that is part of the campus. If you shop at Whole Foods, take a look at the bananas you are buying because they might be from EARTH; the university has a contract with Whole Foods because of its sustainable practices. I was on Team Banana, so we were tasked with also evaluating the plantation’s commitment to sustainability. It was clear after speaking with one of the workers, Tulio, that EARTH does a lot for the happiness of its workers. Additionally, because it is a research institution, there is a trial organic banana section; the current environment of Costa Rica has prevented any large-scale organic banana plantations from being viable.
Luna Nueva Biodynamic Farm:
Finca Luna Nueva, New Moon Farm, is an integrated organic farm near La Fortuna in Costa Rica, one of the most agriculturally rich regions in the country. The farm is also a biodynamic farm, meaning that it adheres to a set of agricultural principles that believe that the sun and the moon govern the productivity of the farm. It also means that the farm leaves space for the fairies and gnomes to frolic, but it’s still up for debate if this actually helps the farm. Our soil microbiologist guide was definitely a critic (as was our group), but didn’t seem to mind working there as long as he was in charge of the science and not the gnomes. I guess the farm still gives him plenty of room to frolic. In all seriousness, Luna Nueva was a great place, and a great respite from our hard lives at EARTH – the ecolodge had hot showers!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hello! My name is Sydney Perlotto, and I am a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park majoring in Global Social Change and Development and minoring in Latin American Studies and International Development and Conflict Management. I am originally from Atlanta, GA but came to UMD because of its proximity to DC (and snow!). You can often find me volunteering around campus, baking tasty treats, or just generally frolicking! After traveling to Chile for a short term study abroad my sophomore year, I have definitely caught the travel bug and hope one day backpack throughout Latin America. Costa Rica is bound to be an adventure of language, culture, and biodiversity - and I have my waterproof hiking boots at the ready!</span></p>