Agricultural Activism

Dear Friends,

It’s a lovely, quiet morning. My eyes feast on the vivid shades of green that
take center stage in the rainy season. The stunning splashes of red from the
blooming African tuliptree (Spathodea Campanulata) provide visual delight
returning me to the days of my childhood. I used to place the horned-shaped
calyx tube from fallen flowers on my nose as a fun outdoor activity! I enjoy
those memories of a simpler time in rural Costa Rica.

I attended the annual assembly of UPA Nacional yesterday afternoon. UPA
Nacional is the National Agricultural and Farmers’ Association that plays an
important role in the political and economic context in our civil society. UPA
Nacional was founded in May 1981 to represent farmers and participate on
their behalf to formulate and implement rural development policies and pro-
grams. It was wonderful to see hundreds of members giving up their Saturday
afternoon to obtain up-to-date information in their industry.

As I sat and listened to the reports of actions taken in the last year (for
example, a major facelift to the current building) and future projects that
are being contemplated (better access to credit and training of farmers),
I was filled anew with admiration for the families that continue to work
the land to integrate their products into the general national economy. They
take immense pride in the tradition of agriculture in Costa Rica.

The current fast pace (even in Costa Rica) has changed the way we gather.
However, the opportunity to socialize in our community is still available to
us in the weekly farmers markets that are held throughout the country. The
farmers enjoy providing fresh local produce while connecting with their
customers to catch up on local issues and current events. I was thrilled to
see many of the vendors I purchase produce from at the meeting yesterday.
It allowed me to interact with them in a different venue. It was a nice change.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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