Sprouting Inspiration: Volunteering at Huerta Comunitaria in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Programs for this blog post

Women for Environmental Action

Authored By:

Delaney O'Brien

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community members of Monteverde, Costa Rica had a problem: they needed access to fresh, local food for a low price. Nearby, in the middle of town, sat an abandoned bull ring that was for decades for bull fighting but later shut down. This large ring sat on school property, and needed a new purpose. With many community members needing food, and having an abundance of time, Monteverde community members decided to turn this abandoned space into something usable: a community garden! This blossomed Huerta Comunitaria Community Garden. 

Creating a community garden in an abandoned bull ring is no easy task. Packed down clay filled the center of the ring, which is no place to grow food. Plants need rich soil to grow, which is the opposite of what was sitting in the ring. Community members worked together to create raised beds and restore the health of the soil through composting. For the next year, local families were able to each have their own raised bed to grow their own food. Once tourism began again, many people went back to work, and they were not able to have personal raised beds. Volunteers turned the individual beds into food accessible for anyone in the community who may need it. Volunteers work with local people to compost, set up farmers markets, and have big dreams for the bull ring. 

The Climate Change Mitigation students traveled into town and were able to help with this vision by volunteering at the Huerta Comunitaria for a few hours. Students were tasked to weed the raised beds and spread new compost. The work of our thirty six students over the course of two hours is what the typical volunteer force can accomplish in a few weeks. Students learned about the mission of the Huerta Comunitaria and the future goals for the gardens and community as a whole. That same day we were there, the Monteverde townspeople were having a meeting to plan what they see as the future of the garden. From rain water collection to new community spaces, they are so excited to continue to positively impact Monteverde. Places like Huerta Comunitaria inspire us to make an impact in our own communities, no matter how big or small.