Ah yes, starting the blog with yet another punny title as usual. Today we had the best tour of the entire trip by far!!
We started the morning off by touring the beautiful Rancho Margot with our very own tour guide. We explored the entire premises and learned a lot. We first visited a green roof close to the bunkhouse and he started asking us why the plants on the roof are beneficial for the sustainable agenda of the ranch. I answered with the fact that the plants helped absord the heat from the sun and naturally cools the building, which leads to less insulation required for the building. We also talked about how it helps with the rain and decreases the chances of landslides and etc. It was interesting to see how just a small ecosystem of plants on the roof could help with conserving energy. It just shows us that something as small and simple as turning your roof into a garden can go a long ways. I think that people back home have this idea that sustainability and being eco friendly is so costly and will only work on a grand scale, but in reality it starts with us on a local/individual level.
We then continued our tour to the chicken farm of Rancho Margot and got to hold baby chicks!! It was so amazing to hold such a small life in my hands. It really inspired me and gave me an awakening of compassion for all shapes of life, even the small ones like chickens. I’m so used to horrible chicken farms and dairy farms in the US that it’s refreshing to see free range chickens and cows in Costa Rica. Every day as we drive to our new location we see random herds of cows in beautiful grasslands and it makes me so happy! Of course I know the meat industry will still continue and thrive, but I enjoy seeing animals in comfortable open spaces it brings me hope. Our tour guide explained that in the US, the chickens are fed corn which is not a natural diet for them. Here they feed them greens which is a more natural diet and makes a big difference for the chickens, and for those who consume them.
After the chicken farm we visited the piggy farm and I was able to hold a 1 week old baby piglet. They were absolutely the cutest thing!! Even though my piggy was squealing and crying when I picked it up, I put it back down and I was able to pet it from the bars :’) We learned that the mother will need to nurse the baby piglets for another 2 months and then the pigs will be used for consumption. It was nice to pet the baby piggies because I’ve never been that close or seen anything that cute small and pink.
After the pig farms we visited the cow farms and saw that the cows were feed banana plants, which is good for the cow and is a sustainable way to get rid of the waste. Our tour guide explained the process of composting and the different stages. He showed us the importance of worms in compost and their role in them. After that our tour guide, jake, and Josh all ate a worm each and I screamed. It was not a pretty sight. He then showed us a big pile of compost and asked what could be helping the composting process. I answered with bacteria and we continued our discussion on the importance of these little bacterias in the compost. Even though I’ve seen compost and learned about the process throughout this trip, I am still amazed at the whole process. We need to stop mistaking “trash” with “waste” because there is a clear difference.
After the guided tour, the owner of Rancho Margot came to give us a speech about the estate, his story, and vision. He spoke very wise words but the one that really stuck with me was “big corporations think that sustainability is the enemy of profit ability”. In our economy, sustainability is seen as an inconvenience and cost. Major companies and business have overlooked it for too long but now, any company without a sustainable agenda will fail. His talk really opened my eyes on what I want study and implement in my career. Our day ended earlier than any other, yet it was such a eventful one.