The University of Georgia Costa Rica 2014-2015 Sustainability Report UGA Costa Rica 2014 - 2015 Sustainability Report - Page 24

Sustainable Agriculture 30% 30 percent of the UGA Costa Rica campus is used as agriculture and pasture land. GOAL: By 2015, increase on-site food production to 33 percent and increase on-site and locally-purchased to 50 percent between January – July and 67 percent between August – December. There is no single consensus on what defines food as “local”, with accepted distances ranging up to 400 miles in the USA. In this report, we define local as within the Monteverde region, which includes the San Luis Valley and the nearby town of Santa Elena. The time frame of data analyzed is between May 2013 and April 2015. UGA Costa Rica has been unable to meet its on-site production goals. Limitations and potential strategies for increasing production are presented in this section. However, the campus has done an admirable job of 24 University of Georgia Costa Rica purchasing as much locally as possible, with the campus far surpassing its established goals of combined on-site farm production and locally purchased food. The campus purchasing policies are also presented in this section. Between the rugged landscape and high winds, agriculture is no simple task in this region. The campus has developed a number of strategies to combat these issues and maintain agricultural production and high crop yields. The campus has adapted to the landscape by employing terrace farming, promoting more efficient land use and reducing soil erosion. Taller plants are used as windbreaks, placed on the outside of plots to protect smaller plants on the inside. Seedlings are first grown in flats to have a better chance of survival when exposed to wind. the campus has done an admirable job of local purchasing as much as possible. Rather than using chemicals, the diversity of crops grown creates a natural check and balance system among pests. Specifically, aromatic herbs such as lemongrass, lavender, and cilantro deter insects; marigolds deter aphids and nematodes; and various types of plants in the genus zinnia attract pollinators. As opposed to a monocrop farming system, the organic farm at UGACR is less susceptible to disease and pest outbreaks, which have the potential to wipe out entire harvests. A diversity of crops also helps protect soil quality and nutrient regeneration, vital to maintaining high production.