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Final Reflections on Costa Rica, What the Heck is a Biodigester, What Noni Looks Like

Before heading down to Costa Rica, I had no idea that it would be one of the best trips that I would ever take and that it would impact me so greatly.

Now back in New York City, I have been trying to wrap my arms around why I loved it so much. Three main things come to mind:

1) First and foremost, it was a phenomenal group of people on the trip. Despite the fact that almost none of us had ever met before, we all got along really, really well. No drama, very easy, and everyone was extremely likeable.

Additionally, the individuals from EARTH University who hosted and took us around Costa Rica were beyond gracious. Their warmth and concern for our well-being was just truly amazing.

On my flight back home from San Jose to Miami, I happened to sit next to someone who graduated from EARTH University in 1999. One of the things I told him was that I couldn’t get over how great the service was in Costa Rica, and he totally agreed. It’s a commitment to service that we just don’t have in the U.S., and the people from EARTH University certainly went above and beyond anything that we could have imagined.

2) The trip to Costa Rica was incredibly educational and inspirational. As I mentioned in my video, visiting EARTH University is probably the highlight of my two years doing livingmaxwell. This is an institution that is really changing the world and doing it with impoverished youth in developing countries.

I loved going onto the banana plantation and learning about all aspects of sustainable banana production.

Meeting the women entrepreneurs who receive microloans from the Whole Planet Foundation really moved me.

And it was fascinating to see how EARTH University is deploying biodigesters into poor, local farming communities. Since most farms have animals, the waste ends up in rivers and gets into the water supply.

The biodigester (see video below) is an inexpensive way to convert the waste to methane, which can be used as electricity. In the process, money is saved, less global warming will occur, the water supply won’t be polluted, and trees won’t have to be cut down (as a source of heat).

When we were installing a biodigester on a farmer’s property, he showed us a noni tree. I’ve seen noni juice many, many times before in health food stores but never knew what the actual fruit looked like.

3) Lastly, I loved being back in Latin America. Speaking Spanish is a huge passion of mine, and I am fascinated by all things Latin – the food, the people, the music, the language, the outlook on life, the history.

Despite having spent a lot of time throughout the region, mostly in Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico, this was my first time back in more than a decade. And I guess I realized just how much I missed it.

I hope you enjoyed all of my posts and videos from Costa Rica. It was a very special week.

A message from E3Live

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Living Maxwell

Company Stories

Sol Simple Solar Dried Organic Bananas – A Fantastic Product and An Amazing Story

I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to share with you great-tasting organic products that are also making a big difference in the world.

One such product that I recently discovered at Whole Foods Tribeca is Sol Simple Solar Dried Bananas.

Produced in Nicaragua, the organic bananas come in thin spears and are dried indoors using a solar drying technology, which enables Sol Simple to reduce carbon emissions.

According to the company, traditional outdoor drying techniques take 2-3 days, expose the fruit to mold and bacteria, and allow the fruit to oxidize.

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A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Company Stories

Food Chains is a MUST-SEE Movie

When people talk about why they eat organic food, the most common answer is that they don’t want to ingest food that has been sprayed with toxic pesticides. The focus is generally on “me” or “we”.

An answer that does not come up nearly as much as it should is “I don’t want to expose farmers to these toxic pesticides.”

The truth is that most of us are completely in the dark about what takes place on farms, in terms of what kind of chemicals farmers are exposed to and also how farm workers are treated.

A brand new documentary called Food Chains sheds light on this very serious problem and what we see is not pretty.

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Living Maxwell

Company Stories

Naked Juice Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Using GMOs and Synthetic Substances in its “Non-GMO” and “All-Natural” Products

The lawsuits against industrial food companies just keep piling up.

First, it was Wesson Oils who got sued for using GMOs in its products that the company claimed were “100% Natural”.

Then, Kashi got sued for using prescription drugs, irradiated substances, pesticides that are a by-product of uranium mining, and federally declared hazardous substances in products that it claimed were “All-Natural” and contained “Nothing Artificial”.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink