During my three-week stay I visited a very successful food security project in the Monte Alto Mountains outside of Nicoya. I felt this was a very important project for me to see and share with others. We began our trip with visiting the feed store to pick up the Tilapia pellets for the artificial ponds we were to visit. As we drove up into the mountains and farming communities the views were amazing, the best I had seen thus far in Coast Rica! Along the way I was shown an earth oven which was successfully being used to bake bread. Howler monkeys with their babies were curious about our presence or annoyed. The journey was rough and long and barely a road. I enjoyed a native dish for lunch and wonderful company with a family we visited. I was so impressed with how well each family was living off the land, so remote and isolated. It was some adventure I will never forget!
The food security project is of great interest to me because without proper nutrition children do not develop as well. Basic academics without the arts also is not good for a developing child if not balanced with; art, music, sports and definitely proper nutrition. So, I saw an important connection for Kids Share Workshops and Partners of the Americas to possibly expand in the area of environmental exploration with an exciting Food Security project focused on building artificial ponds in drought prone areas of Costa Rica.
ABOUT THE ARTIFICIAL POND PROJECT
The project was directed by Ruben Medina and Adolfo Salinas Acosta, Mesoamerican Center for Sustainable Development of the Dry Tropics CEMEDE at The University of Nicoya (UNED). They received enough grant money from Conare (four universities working together) to build artificial ponds/reservoirs in the mountains of Monte Alto, a nature reserve located 480-833 meters above sea level. It belongs to the Nosara Protected Zone above Nicoya.
We only had time to visit two communities in this mountain range. There I visited two artificial ponds which successfully held Tilapia 400-1,000. After the rains in January the males are only fished out. The ponds are built above the farmland with an irrigation system, which sustain the agriculture of; forest grown coffee, hazelnuts, tomatoes, chili, beans, peas, celery, green peppers, cilantro, onions, scallions, chives, lettuce and more! I even watched a farmer pull a huge fresh water clam out of a water hole where he was harvesting them. The 5-6 months during the hot, dry season farmers could not have sustained their livelihood and live off the land like they can today. Fish and vegetables are now brought down to be sold in resort and rural communities such as Guanacaste and plenty are provided for the local families who live in these farming communities.
Is to share what I believe to be a very successful food security project. I feel this project deserves the attention of larger agricultural corporations who benefit from Costa Rica’s coffee, produce and possibly farm raised Tilapia. I also believe this project could benefit rural, dry areas of the US. Perhaps in South Dakota or Nebraska. If the people who live and work in these rural communities have an opportunity to have a more diverse and healthy diet because of an artificial pond, I want to help them get there!
Please send me your feedback. I would like to know what you think and perhaps any ideas you have to expand this project throughout Costa Rica! I am always looking for volunteers to help me sustain and build Kids Share Workshops Cross Cultural Program in the Americas.
Kids Share Workshops supports ideas and projects which benefit the health and well being of children. Cross Cultural sharing and caring brings us all together for the possibility of a brighter future benefiting our communities, country and world!
Muchas Gracias y Abrazos, Kristina Applegate-Program Director & Founder