Recently, I traveled to New Chapter's Finca Luna Nueva eco-lodge located in the beautiful rainforest of Costa Rica. The staff at Luna Nueva is known for their efforts in rainforest conservation and they also work with the faculty at the Earth University in Costa Rica and other skilled farmers to host conferences in sustainable farming and biodynamic practices. For part 2 of my trip, I wanted to share a little of what I learned at the farm (finca) about sustainability and biodynamic farming. I also have a few photos that help tell the story.
Our guides during our stay at the farm were Steven Farrell (below, left), Rafael Ocampo Sanchez, BSc. (below, middle) and Ismael Cordero (below, right). Steven is the President of Finca Luna Nueva and co-founder of the National Organic Agriculture Association. Rafael's areas of expertise are ethnobotany on useful plants and the domestication of medicinal plants. Ismael studied the natural history of Costa Rica and holds an I.N.A. in Naturalist Tour Guide. As valuable as their collective educations are, the on-the-job experience they have acquired are priceless.
Whether touring the jungle, exploring the Sacred Seeds Sanctuary or planting trees in the rainforest, one theme resonated throughout our stay at the farm, sustainability. The farm itself is a self-sustaining environment practicing the principles of ecology--the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. This goes hand-in-hand with another feature of Luna Nueva, biodynamic farming. Organic farming, or biodynamic farming, is the practice of creating and maintaining a balanced ecosystem using and reusing elements from the surrounding environment. Sustainable agriculture relies on replenishing the soil while minimizing the use of non-renewable resources.
Below, Ismael explained to us how the turmeric and ginger seeds were harvested from the farm with the intent to plant for the next crops. New Chapter also uses the organic turmeric and ginger grown on the farm in their supplements.
Snack, anyone? As we trekked through the jungle, our guide would pluck fruit, herbs, etc. and share them with those courageous enough to try something new.
Ice Cream Fruit (Bidibiba)
Coco Fruit (wrapped inside the sweet white pulp are cocoa beans which are used to make chocolate)
Of course, the jungle is more than just a bunch of plants…the creatures were in abundance!
Spider (night hike)
Bats (roosting during the daytime on a tree trunk)
Basilisk Lizard (aka Jesus Christ Lizard for its ability to run across water)
Unknown Moth Species
Red-Eyed Tree Frog (night hike)
An off-site adventure took us to the base of the Arenal Volcano.
When we visited the Arenal Volcano, it was (and is still currently) in a resting phase but is still considered active. Because there are no eruptions, we were able to hike to the base of the volcano safely.
Making a 180 degree turn from the volcano was Arenal Lake
I ended up taking more than 300 photos during my time at Finca Luna Nueva, but I’ll stop here. This truly was the trip of a lifetime and I would like to thank New Chapter for giving me the opportunity to learn, explore and to meet amazing people. Gracias, New Chapter.