Animals as Machines: how sustainable is this waste management system?

In Monteverde, Costa Rica, there is a cheese factory that was started by a group of Quaker settlers in the early 1950’s. Today they purchase milk from nearly 200 small dairy farmers in the region. While most of the milk arrives in modern stainless steel cylindrical tanker trucks, some milk is still delivered in the…

El Salvador’s Slaughterhouses

*CAUTION: GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS & PICTURES* Six years ago, the municipal slaughterhouse in La Union, in the southeastern region of El Salvador, was ordered to be closed by the Ministry of Health because it did not meet the health standards outlined by the ministry. Yet still it continues to operate. If you are picturing an image…

Play Dirt

Taking advantage of the first sunny day we’ve had in at least two weeks, and probably the fourth sunny day since I returned to El Salvador in early August, I spent the morning playing in the dirt of my garden. I had several tomato seedlings that were desperately waiting to be planted out as well…

The Amazing Banana Journey

I live in a region formerly known as a Banana Republic. No, I’m not talking about the hip clothing factory, though there are plenty of clothing boutiques here. The concept of a Banana Republic formed in the late 1800’s when bananas from Central America were exported to the U.S. and Europe for as much as…

1,500 Miles is a Long Way to the Trash Can

Local food is a hot topic. Farmers markets are on the rise. Small diverse farmers are finding greater markets, and nearly everywhere demand is rising for local food. But similar to the growth in the organic industry, which has been extremely rapid in the past ten years, this growing interest in local food still represents…