Costa Rica Update

Hello followers!

We've been on the road and without great wifi for our first two weeks in Costa Rica but, in summary, the trip has been a great success so far!  We arrived the evening of Sunday, February 25th to Juan Santamaría Airport, just outside San José.

The team, looking fresh at the airport :)

The next morning, we woke up early and drove to EARTH University, a private institution of about four hundred students (many from developing countries) focused on sustainable agriculture.

Workers in an EARTH banana packing plant
Some EARTH bananas, likely destined for Whole Foods in the United States!

We had some great interviews with some passionate banana researchers and a very charismatic plantation manager.  

The EARTH packing plant manager explains how bananas are grown in the field

We loved our time at EARTH but before we knew it, it was time to pack up and leave for Puntarenas province!

A bird's-eye view of EARTH's campus from our drone

Our next stop was Wade Moore's farm in Buenos Aires.  Wade cultivates over 60 varieties of banana, as well as many other crops, chickens, pigs, and a garden full of orchids.  We learned loads from him.

A drone shot of Wade's farm
Wade explaining how he manages the bananas in his plantation

After our time at Wade's we took a couple days off in Uvita, a beach town, to do some laundry and take in the sights.

Sara, Mollie, Nick and Marina doing washing by hand in our open-air kitchen in Uvita
The beach in Uvita

After our short break in Uvita, we hit the road again. A seven-hour, continent-crossing drive had us trading the Pacific Coast for the Caribbean Coast.

One half of the team posing for a "selfie" on the road

And now we are in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica, filming members of several small producer cooperatives.  The traditional method of farming by indigenous peoples in Talamanca is an agroforestry system featuring cacao, banana, various fruit trees, and timber trees.  These "layers" of agrobiodiversity provide a diverse income for the small producer and a home for wildlife.

Juanita, the manager of APPTA, explains the system of farming in Talamanca

And today, sadly, we said goodbye to one teammate, Marina, who has to return to the Netherlands early to do some work on her PhD.  She will be missed!

The team in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Marina leaving on the bus!!

We have more interviews scheduled tomorrow and next week and look forward to updating you all again soon!

If you want more updates on our team's day-to-day, we've been posting a lot on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram accounts (these are easier for us to access and update on the road).  

As a reminder, if you are receiving this message via Kickstarter and have not transferred your donation to GoFundMe, please consider doing so.  (Because the campaign was unsuccessful, we did not receive your contribution and you were not charged.)  We are hoping to do some more interviews in the United Kingdom and in California with banana experts and small farmers later this year and it can only happen with your support!

Thanks again for your support on our project and we can't wait to share the final film with you!

Jackie Turner

Team Leader

Following her dual degree in environmental studies and film studies, Jackie spent four years in Los Angeles, working in the television industry before returning to the world of science and academia this year to complete her masters in applied ecology. The main inspiration behind her return to education was undergraduate experience living on a banana plantation and the imminent challenges bananas are facing in the next decade. She deeply believes in the power of storytelling to change hearts and minds. When she doesn't have her nose in a book or a impending deadline on the horizon, Jackie enjoys hiking, climbing, yoga, trail running and watching the digital koi fish swim in circles on her computer. Breathe in, breath out.