Article by Kathryn Cawdrey and Photo Gallery by Amanda Henderson
LA BARBARA DE SANTA CRUZ, Costa Rica — Self-dubbed “agricultural apprentice” Juan Arriago Mora, 60, strolled through the diverse plot of trees, his dog Charran close at his heels.
More than 500 plant species grow on 10 acres that make up the “sun plot” at Casa del Sol, a house dedicated to conservation and locally grown produce. The house only uses resources from local farmers to support them and avoid importation of foreign crops. Solar cookers prepare food while Mora does his work, tending to the trees.
“Trees are our big brothers,” he said.
Trees can be used for many wholesome purposes, Mora said. The Neem tree, for example, is used as a medicinal remedy for leprosy, eye disorders, bloody noses and more, according to WebMD.
Mora spoke of the Achiote, commonly known as the “lipstick tree.” The seeds immediately dye anything they touch a deep orange. The dye extracted from the seeds is called Annatto, which is used as a repellant and for medicinal purposes. It is even responsible for the color of Cheetos.
Mora’s goal is to share his knowledge of trees and enthusiasm with both his family and the world, he said. Many trees are disappearing due to deforestation for cattle pastures, monocrops or teak wood production.
A new and better planet is dependent on younger generations, as they are “the seeds of hope,” Mora said. “I’m sorry for the negatively affected world that [my generation is] leaving you.”
Mora blames human activity for climate change on Earth. People need to protect their “spaceship” because there is not anywhere else to go, he said.
Edited by Amanda Henderson
Edited by Jalyn Henderson