By: Annie Gordon
On our way to the Caribbean coast earlier this week, the gap cohort made a pit stop at EARTH University. The university sits on 9,000 acres of rural land in Guácimo, Limón, Costa Rica. EARTH is an acronym for Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda that translates into English as School of Agriculture in the Tropical Region. EARTH was founded in 1990 as a private, non-profit university. Currently the international school pulls its 430 undergraduate students from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and various other regions around the globe.
What sets EARTH University apart, besides its eclectic student body and unconventional campus, is its dedication to sustainable development. The school aspires to have each of its students to bring tools, experiences, and original business plans back to his or her home country to create a socially aware and environmentally sustainable world. In fact, our tour was angled towards the sustainable agriculture on campus rather than the academic classes and facilities.
EARTH is committed to challenging the social and environmental standards of conventional food production companies. The university transformed nutrient deficient and chemically harmed farmland into sustainable and organic banana plantations. The workers are employed by contract. They receive a higher salary than farmers in rural Costa Rica, as well as health care benefits. The profit from the banana plantation goes towards the close to one and a half million-dollar fund for providing students full tuition scholarships.