By Jesus Barreto, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill ’17
COSTA RICA: Environmental Change, and Human Health, Spring 2016
During the first week of our the semester, we visited an organic pineapple farm near La Selva Biological Station. Last semester I took a class titled Agriculture and the Environment at UNC – Chapel Hill and learned a lot about what organic and conventional agriculture is like. I liked being able to see what I learned in the classroom in the form of organic agriculture being utilized to grow pineapples in Costa Rica. Pineapples are very detrimental to soil as it acidifies it after the pineapples are grown, which leaves the soil in a state difficult to utilize in the future. It was interesting to see that this plantation utilized organic practices that I learned about in a textbook.
One of these practices was rotating the pineapple crop with legumes on off-seasons. This practice of crop rotation would help the soil by replenishing nutrients through nitrogen fixation, which in the end would mitigate the acidification of the soil.
I liked seeing an example of organic agriculture actually being successful, as it is a key component in assuaging the negative environmental affects that occur due to our current agricultural system.
The best part of the trip, though, was sampling pineapple straight from the field and enjoying many different kinds of delicious pineapple treats after the tour.
We all agreed that we probably won’t ever taste such a delicious pineapple again!