This year for our family vacation we visited Costa Rica, the most beautiful, green place with many wonderful sites and attractions, and is about to become the world’s first carbon neutral country! The highlight of our vacation was our visit to Don Juan’s Eco Farm in Arenal.
Don Juan’s Eco Farm is an organic farm that is environmentally sustainable, and I think that all farms should try to be like this one. It was fascinating to speak with Don Juan the owner of this farm. He says that like the impatiens seeds which bursts open and spreads its seeds to long distances with just the gentle touch of rain drops, he would like to disseminate his knowledge to people all around the world. The purpose of his farm is to produce, conserve, and to spread knowledge to everyone on environmental sustainability and organic farming.
Don Juan grows everything organically and his farm produces almost everything they need for their daily use. During the tour around the farm, Don Juan showed us how he can make natural juices and delicious snacks from sugar cane, fruits, and even leaves. These juices were one of the best tasting juices I have ever had! As we walked around we picked things that we wanted to eat for lunch; later his family made us traditional Costa Rican food with all the items we picked, and it was very delicious!
We also learnt that his careful placement of various types of plants was to take advantage of the diverse properties of the plants, in order to maintain the rich nutrients in the soil, and also some plants were purposefully placed to detract pests. This is a very smart method that I think all farms should start using, instead of pesticides.
Don Juan’s Farm is a great real life example of how we could truly be zero waste, and conserve resources. He has solar panels on roof tops and instead of Natural gas to heat his stove and home, Don Juan showed us how he uses Bio Gas. He uses the methane from his cows to make an energy source, which also helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that his farm produces. He reuses almost everything in his farm, and is very careful about making the right choices for his needs.
Don Juan is a very passionate educator. Before Don Juan became an organic farmer he was a math teacher and school principal. So, if you look around his farm you would see geometric shapes in which plants are arranged in his fields. I would never forget the way he explained to me why pi has a value of 3.14 with a little basket and string. Don Juan has educated lots of people from all around the world, on how to farm organically, and in the future Don Juan would like to offer labs and educate even more people.
I saw many researchers, students, and farmers from all around the world visit his farm to learn from him. Don Juan is a true role model and I think that we all should try to follow in his footsteps.
About the Author:
Pavan Raj Gowda is 12 years old, founder of non-profit organization, Green Kids Now, Inc., founder of Green Kids Conference, Official Biomimicry Youth Speaker, and an International reporter for Primary Perspectives radio Show. (http://greenkidsnow.org and http://greenkidsconference.org)
Listen to Pavan’s Radio Interviews at: http://greenkidsnow.org/ewaves.html