For coffee farmer sustainability is an organic, long-term vision in which money’s role is not the focus
By Daniela Vidal
Definitions can stir up emotions and sometimes conflict. “Sustainability” doesn’t lack for either. This is the first in a series of looks at how Ticos define sustainability and what it means to them.
SAN LUIS, Costa Rica — Oldemar Salazar, a small coffee farmer in Alto San Luis, understands that though it isn’t always the easiest or the most profitable, his organic methods are beneficial:
“Sustainability is about four things: the environment, production, well-being and the exchange of ideas. Organic processes develop organic sustainability. This is something we can have for the long term. Here in San Luis we have a great advantage: we have a sustainable conscience. Monteverde, unlike San Luis, is focused on tourism and the money it brings. Being sustainable doesn’t bring us a ton of money but it gives us health and well-being for the years to come. Money is not the focus of sustainability. I’ve always lived in this region and I have seen a fresh, clean river lose water and gain contamination. It costs a lot more to recover that river than it does to use it properly. There are many different groups in Costa Rica who want to see what I do and implement the organic model for themselves, for the long-term. We need to exchange these ideas. We need to share this with communities.”
This quote was translated from Spanish to English by the writer.