After spending a few hours in the Tabacon Hot Springs recovering from the first four action packed days the group was ready to take on everything that Rancho Margot has to offer. With over four hundred acres of forest and farmland Rancho Margot has is home to a very diverse population of plant and animal life. Not only that, but Rancho Margo is one of the most advanced sustainable eco-tourism projects in all of Costa Rica and the world. The passion that the farmers and workers at Rancho Margot have is refreshing to see. They all care so much about the animals and plants that they are responsible for. Animals including horses, cattle, pigs, and chickens all have the privilege of living on a farm such as Rancho Margot. These animals receive a completely organic and vegetarian diet which is all grown on the property itself. While we were there we saw a calf that was born just hours before!
Nothing goes to waste at Rancho Margot; everything down to the left over kitchen oil from their restaurant and nearby hotels is used in some capacity to help sustain the environment. The oil is used to make soaps instead of allowing the oil to contaminate the water. One liter of cooking oil can contaminate about 1000 liters of water. Leftover pieces of soap are melted down and used as laundry detergent.
Rancho Margot uses coils embedded inside their compost piles to heat the water for their showers. All of the electricity on the ranch is created by two large hydro-turbine generators (8 and 42 kilowatts per hour). The farm’s success is based on careful planning of circular processes. Circular processes are implemented in multiple areas of the farm; this ensures that there are no end products to a certain process. The staff emphasized how they try to be creative and innovative when trying to solve complex environmental problems which involve variables like temperature, humidity, soil composition and plant and animal health.
Aside from being a highly developed sustainable community, the ranch has developed educational and research programs that will allow the further training of its staff and even develop new practices. Rancho Margot has become a center for scholarship, research and sustainable development that welcomes students from all around Costa Rica and the world. It was very exciting and refreshing to experience a completely sustainable community not contaminated with the values of western capitalism. This ranch offers a completely different lifestyle than the one we are all used to. This allowed us to realize how narrow the scope of our lives can be and how other cultures find creative ways to live sustainably.
- Lemon grass, the root beer plant, garlic, and ginger can be used as natural insect repellent.
- Rancho Margot is home to 9 of the 50 species of hummingbird in Costa Rica.
- In an effort to be even more self-sufficient, Rancho Margot is working on a project to create their own bio-diesel to power their backup generator.
Juan Aviles, Garrett Byrne, and Mike Moalli
Bryant University Sustainability Marketing 385