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Planting Sustainability

Locals, who were unemployed by the pandemic, are hired to plant a future with traditional, resilient crops and teach others these skills.

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The economic impact of the tourist-based region in tropical Costa Rica has left many unemployed.  The Monteverde Institute has turned its education focus to the community by teaching and employing locals to plant traditional, resilient crops, provide bananas and other fruit trees to all families, produce seeds from local stock and donate plants to locals, and teach the gardening, harvesting, and cooking methods of these crops.

What is the need are you focusing on?

Minimize food insecurity by reducing the dependence on outside products and improve self-sufficiency by producing local products that have natural resilience to the elements and are easy to grow.  Locals are hired in this program to share their knowledge. This falls under long term sustainable goals of advancing circular economies.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

The Monteverde Institute has shifted to teaching skills and working alongside the community in its education goals. We will hire more local people to share their knowledge with their fellow citizens (whereas, in the past, we hired local residents to teach foreign students).

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

This program will be piloted in the Monteverde region where over 5,500 people reside. In the past 30 years, this traditionally agricultural region turned to ecotourism resulting in a dependence on outside agriculture. With the loss of tourism, its agricultural roots need to be revived. It is estimated that over 75% of the people in the zone are now unemployed. This program will hire locals to teach and implement traditional food crop planting, harvesting, and cooking. This will reduce food insecurity issues that we have identified as existing even during a booming ecotourism economy. Therefore, this crisis will provide the impetus to solve an issue that has been on-going since the abandonment of agriculture in the region.

What is the name of your business or organization?

The Monteverde Institute

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

The Monteverde Institute is a public service, non-profit association, dedicated to peace, justice, knowledge and the vision of a sustainable future. The Monteverde Institute was created in 1986 by 28 community members to work alongside the community and promote sustainability at a local and global level. Our three pillars of education, research, and service programs are interwoven into academic courses and community projects to provide real solutions to local and global issues. We promote the appreciation of diversity and community, spirituality and the well-being of living beings. (

What is your profession?

Executive Director

Where are you located (country)?

Costa Rica

Where are you located (region)?

  • Latin America and the Caribbean

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Academia/Research
  • Non-Profit/Philanthropy
  • Community programs

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 11-49

How old is your business/company?

  • 10 or more years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Nonprofit/NGO

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

We collaborate with local organizations and fundraising partners would be most welcome, as well as donations of skill and knowledge.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Funding to hire local staff to share their knowledge and skills.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

Having a dedicated and flexible staff is critical. Our academic and research staff are now planting gardens, reforesting areas, teaching cooking (the attached video is a staff member in our maintenance department), and creating food baskets that are delivered to over 50 families (so far).

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

We will be setting up a GoFundMe program.

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