Michael's Post - Day 4 (Farm tour and Bio-dynamic farming)
Day four started with the idea that we would go on a six-hour ‘extreme hike’ to a waterfall. I was really looking forward to this hike. As it turns out, the rain had other ideas and we had to cancel the hike due to too much rain. While it would be easy to get upset – Ishmael, one of the workers, was quick to say ‘Michael – you are in a rainforest…it is always raining’. True enough.
Instead we went to the main lodge, the interns made us delicious smoothies, and we lounged around on hammocks taking naps as needed.
After a snack for lunch we headed out with Ishmael for a two-hour farm tour. I had been begging Stacy every day to figure out how we could do the farm tour – as I really wanted to better understand this place - it is both a biodynamic farm and a set of bungalows where people can visit the farm.
Luna Nueva was purchased and started as a biodynamic farm in 1983 by New Chapter, an American company, that wanted to grow the size of its bio-dynamic practice. In the 1990’s they made places to stay so that New Chapter salesfolks could visit the farm and learn, first hand, about biodynamic farming. In 2009 they started allowing guests to stay. This tourism revenue has helped them diversify their revenue.
Biodynamic farming incorporates fundamentals from integrated or perma farming (integrated livestock and crops) and organic farming (crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control). In addition to these fundamentals, biodynamic farming has the same goal it had in 1924 when it was founded by Rudolf Steiner – to conceive of the farm as an organically self-contained entity with its own individuality and where all living things are interdependent.
Ishmael gave a great high-level overview of the basics of biodynamic farming and then showed us the operations of a biodynamic farm. While I imagine that the jury is still out on biodynamics (due to the higher costs of the end products), I was both curious and intrigued by the entire experience and would not be surprised to see biodynamic farming play a role in all of our lives as we all get a better understanding of the right way for us to interact with the surrounding environment and determine how to put better food into our bodies.
To say the farm tour made an impact on me is an understatement (and I am not saying that just because I ate termites).
After the farm tour we headed for dinner and met a fabulous couple – Tony a great gal from Chicago and her husband Owen from the UK. The four of us hit it off right away and a few bottles of wine later we were swimming in the pool, hanging out in the hot tub, and having some great conversation.
What a great way to spend a rainy day in the rainforest.