Why do they love the soil?
Because it gives them freedom.
So many people in this world don’t even have a place to plant a single seed. But this family can grow what they need, so sweet, so delicious: they can watch every phase of the life of the plant, rejoice as they slowly unfold. When a crisis came down on the city, they kept right on walking their fields, Minor with his practiced eye, Lucidia in her broad hat, baby Ruth growing strong just like the plants. The clink of coins, the crackling sounds of bills? These can’t compare to the rush of rain or shovels chirping in the dirt. They went back to the trueque of old, offering their coffee and cilantro for a neighbor’s beans or meat. When a whole industry vanished overnight, when they could no longer share their lives with the tourists who come to sip their coffee and learn their way around the plants, this family simply shared with neighbors instead. As the world mourned its strangely silent streets, this family’s streets of earth, the spaces between rows of crops, remained just as vibrant as before.
When they offer up these things they’ve grown themselves, it’s not just food they hand to you. It’s affection. It’s the fruit of months of effort. It comes from plants that know their footfalls, that shaded Ruth as she played and crawled and started to walk. It’s a sign of blessing.
What do they feel when their hands touch the earth? Here’s what they say to that: We return to the bonds that humans have with the soil. Without that connection, we are nothing more than robots. Nothing in this life, nothing that matters, came from anything other than the soil beneath our feet.
Photos courtesy of Tierra Amiga Tarrazú. Text by Katherine Stanley Obando inspired by the lives and words of Minor Montero, Lucidia Hernández, and their daughter Ruth. Minor and Lucidia are the founders and owners of Tierra Amiga Tarrazú, an organic farm, coffee, and rural tourism initiative in San Marcos de Tarrazú. Our weekly Media Naranja series captures stories of love and affection with a Costa Rican twist. During our April edition, “The trailblazers,” we are focusing it on pilot members of our national rural tourism platform, Directory 506, and showcasing their love for the earth, air, water, and fire.