Since I left Belize, I have struggled to find words that accurately describe what I felt during my two-month journey to the Caribbean. My travels were blessed, and by that, I mean I was incredibly lucky to meet who I did and stay where I stayed. However, one place stood out as particularly paradisaical, at least in my mind. This was the Columbia River Cooperative, where my friend Lisa White lives and hosts the travelers of the world.
The Columbia River Cooperative already holds many of my fondest memories in its grasp, because of the great friends I made there, but what impressed me most was Lisa's philosophy behind how and why she ran the farm there. Lisa is heavily involved with organic farming and permaculture and this serves as the basis for her farm. Everywhere you look, fruit trees cover the property; you can find anything from oranges to bananas to passion-fruit to hanging potatoes. Also, raised gardening bins are interspersed in the yard, where Lisa grows her vegetables. She also raised chickens, cows, horses and goats. Lisa's orientation towards organic farming and perennial vegetables are what make the Columbia River Cooperative as significant as it is.
In modern America, specialized tasks have long been the norm, largely because you most be specialized to even hold a career in the states. Many people go their whole lives without realizing how little they know, or ever stopping to care about it. For other people, specialized tasks are a nightmare, which creates an alienation from labor. Anybody who has worked a miserable job undoubtedly knows this feeling. My experience at the Columbia River Cooperative was vastly different from any experience I've had in America. During my time on the farm, every experience was much more meaningful and holistic. Every morning when I woke up, it was time to learn something new. Some days I had to pour gasoline down ants' nests and blow them up; on other days, I would collects eggs, ripe fruit and vegetables to take to the kitchen. What I enjoyed about this experience was being able to see where my work went, which was ultimately back to me. Everyday I would end up feasting on the same fruit I had picked earlier. Even shoveling cow pies to use as manure was enjoyable, even more so when I thought about the benefits Lisa and her daughters would receive from my effort. I learned a great deal about life on that little farm tucked back in the jungle of Belize, but nothing more important than knowing why you work and exactly where your effort is helping the world.
Contact the author at <email@example.com>.